Reykjavík Energy along with the University of Iceland and other international scientific institutions have received two EU grants for climate projects to the combined amount of EUR 12.2 million. The grants will fund further development of methods fixing CO2 as a mineral in basaltic rock, now with special emphasis on the sea-bed.
Dr. Edda Sif Pind Aradóttir, the projects’ manager at Reykjavík Energy, says the grants, that will benefit a score of collaborators, are a valuable recognition of the projects’ merit and their contribution in the fight against climate change. Already, nine doctoral students have done their theses on fixing CO2 in rock.
Gas into rock:
Since year 2007, scientists have collaborated with Reykjavík Energy’s experts, technicians, and tradespeople on developing the idea and implementation of fixating CO2 into basaltic rock around The Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant. The power station co-generates electricity and hot water from geothermal steam which contains sporadic amounts geothermal gases. The same method as has been developed with CO2 is now also employed to sequester H2S, another geothermal gas. Already, 60% of the gases are now fixed as minerals in the bedrock and ON Power, Reykjavík Energy’s subsidiary that operates the power plant, aims at making the operation traceless in terms of these gases.
Looking to the oceans:
Because the methods employed to fix the geothermal gases in the bedrock crave both water and basaltic rock, scientists now have focused on the ocean floor. There, extensive field of basalt can be found and, naturally, lots of water.
On Wednesday 27th September 2017, the innovative Surf ‘n’ Turf hydrogen community energy project was officially launched in Orkney by the Scottish Government’s Business, Innovation & Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse.
Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse, stated “Hydrogen itself and hydrogen fuel cells both have huge potential in Scotland’s low-carbon energy system and we have already supported a number of world-leading hydrogen demonstration projects.
We will continue to support innovation in suitable hydrogen initiatives and explore the practicalities of using hydrogen as a zero carbon substitute fuel for the heating of homes and businesses in Scotland and in transport.
Hydrogen energy technologies are in the early stages of development in Scotland but there is growing global awareness of their potential in the decarbonisation of heat, industry and transport. We are actively considering what role hydrogen can play in Scotland’s future energy system as part of the Scottish Energy Strategy, and projects like Surf ‘n’ Turf have a very important role to play in informing that work.”
The “Surf ’n’ Turf” project is led by Community Energy Scotland, in collaboration with the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), Orkney Islands Council, Eday Renewable Energy and ITM Power. The project has received £1.3m (€1.5m) of Scottish government funding through the CARES programme and Local Energy Challenge Fund.
Mark Hull, Community Energy Scotland’s Head of Innovation said: “We never forget why we took on this challenge: we want community energy to work so that local people benefit directly from their renewable energy.
This hydrogen pilot has been the best opportunity for Eday due to their location, type of grid limitations, its fantastic energy resource and the chance to power the local ferries with Orkney’s own fuel. We are proud, together with the community and partners, to have cleared the hurdles and reached this milestone.”
Orkney is an archipelago off the north-eastern coast of Scotland. There is a plentiful amount of natural resources (wave, tidal, wind and solar), which allows for the electricity to be generated locally from renewable resources. On many occasions the generated electricity is more than what is needed by the local population and the surplus is exported to the UK National Grid. In some instances, a problem arises with an over-production of green electricity, as the grid connection in Orkney is not large enough to support the export of all that is produced. This results in curtailment of the production of green electricity and clean energy being unharnessed.
Eday Island hosts the tidal site of the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) and has around 200 residents, which own collectively 900kW wind turbine through Eday Renewable Energy. Both Eday’s wind turbine and EMEC’s tidal turbines are susceptible to curtailment because of the non-firm grid connection.
Andy Stennett, Managing Director of Eday Renewable Energy Ltd said: “The ERE team is proud to be part of such an innovative pilot. We expect to reclaim electricity that was previously lost, meaning more revenue, and more money we can pass to our community.”
Surf ‘n’ Turf provides Eday’s community-owned wind turbine and EMEC with equipment to convert and store the surplus energy as hydrogen. The fuel cell (75kW) was the final piece of the hydrogen project and it was delivered and install by Arcola Energy in collaboration with German Proton Motor. The hydrogen is compressed by EMEC’s electrolyser, stored and transported to Kirkwall for off-site use, where the fuel cell will convert it back into electricity for use by the inter-island ferries while berthed at the pier. EMCE produced the world’s first tidal-powered hydrogen in August this year.
James Stockan, Leader of Orkney Islands Council, said: “This is all about turning a problem into an opportunity – a home-grown solution to the difficulties grid restraints cause for a community with abundant renewable energy resources.
The result is a world-leading project that rightly is attracting international interest. I am confident that this will be the first of many pioneering ways our community will find to utilise hydrogen produced using Orkney’s natural resources.”
The national public financial support agency Enova, has launched a new support program for a national rollout of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure. Enova will now support faster growth in the use of hydrogen vehicles, and assess the growth pace and support scheme annually in accordance with vehicle development in the coming years.
Program Goals: Emission free transport sector
When the cost of hydrogen vehicles become competitive, hydrogen can be an important contributor in making the transport sector emissions free. Therefore, Enova now wants projects that help reduce costs and build experience. Enova earlier this year made it possible for the professional market to get support for the purchase of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and the support for filling stations is well suited to this.
Targeted infrastructure development program
Enova wants to contribute to a customized and targeted infrastructure development:
Hydrogen stations that have a customer base will be given priority in the competition for the funding available. It improves the profitability of the project, and enables the Enova hydrogen program to get usage experience as early as possible. Particularly stations whose attributed to larger car fleets in commercial and public transport can provide useful operating experience quickly.
Facilitation of a faster growth
Projects which are economically successful could show both private and business professionals that hydrogen is a real alternative. In this way, the support offer facilitates a faster growth in the hydrogen market when access to hydrogen cars is increasing. If you can demonstrate that selling hydrogen is profitable, the commerical investment would take place.
The program for a national rollout of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure is part of the range of support opportunities Enova has for using hydrogen in the transport sector, and Enova believe that the range of support programs will help realize a number of good hydro projects in the coming years. Support opportunities include:
Innovative hydrogen technology
Building of hydrogen fuel station
New offer to public players
A new offer is that public and private players seeking support for hydrogen vehicles can also get support to build filling stations at the same time. In addition, Enova can support municipalities and county municipalities that wish to build hydrogen stations to electrify public transport services.
The Norwegian hydrogen business community welcomes this new national support scheme, and the country’s Hydrogen business sector is fully motivated to maximise the impact of hydrogen-based transport in Norway. But the hydrogen business sector believe even stronger actions and a clearer commitment on national level is needed for a stronger growth:
Build more and faster
Hydrogen is a competitive energy storage medium for large scale integration of renewable electricity that can be used in the Norwegian transport sector. The European Commission made this conclusion already in 2012 – let’s go for Hydrogen together with private and public players and with targeted support programs.
Local businesses in Narvik says yes – we both can and shall become a green hydrogen nation. “Let’s use the surplus and trapped renewable energy to produce hydrogen – and distribute the hydrogen and make it accessible to growing zero emission markets in Norway and the rest of the world”. This is the conclusion from the Hydrogen meeting in Narvik arranged by Narvik Science Park.
The Renewable Energy Directive
The EU Renewable Energy Directive establishes an overall policy for the production and promotion of energy from renewable sources in the EU. It requires the EU to fulfill at least 20% of its total energy needs with renewables by 2020 – to be achieved through the attainment of individual national targets. All EU countries must also ensure that at least 10% of their transport fuels come from renewable sources by 2020. In November 2016, the Commission published a proposal for a revised Renewable Energy Directive to make the EU a global leader in renewable energy and ensure that the target of at least 27% renewables in the final energy consumption in the EU by 2030 is met.
National action plans
The Directive specifies national renewable energy targets for each country, taking into account its starting point and overall potential for renewables. These targets range from a low 10% to a high of 50%. EU countries set out how they plan to meet these targets and the general course of their renewable energy policy in national renewable energy action plans – and the progress towards national targets is measured every two years when the EU countries publish national renewable energy progress reports.
The Directive promotes cooperation amongst EU countries and with countries outside EU (Norway) to help EU meet their renewable energy targets.
Norway – Hydrogen nation?
Norway would have a close cooperation with EU and will adapt to the Renewable Energy Directive by making national plans for Norway – especially for Hydrogen, where Norway would start to make a strategy for Hydrogen production and establishing Hydrogen Fuel stations across the country from January 2017.
Norway is in a unique position as it has a surplus of renewable energy production, annually 20 Terrawatt hours, and limited grid capacity for export – which means trapped renewable energy production that could be used for Hydrogen production. There also exists a political will to support energy intensive industries such as hydrogen production. This means that hydrogen could play a significant role in the future – both as export of hydrogen and as fuel for national land transport (Network of Hydrogen fuel stations).
Hydrogen meeting in Narvik
The Narvik Hydrogen meeting was arranged by Narvik Science Park in cooperation with the Hydrogen production company; Glomfjord Hydrogen and the Hydrogen technology company; NEL Hydrogen – just to look into the interest for establishing Hydrogen fuel stations across Norway – and the local businesses interest for investing in Hydrogen fuel stations. 20 local companies say yes to hydrogen technology solutions and that Norway should become a hydrogen nation.
From Spring 2017 there would be a close cooperation between Narvik Science Park and ENOVA – to look closer into how local companies can contribute to investments in hydrogen technology solutions and establishing Hydrogen fuel stations in the Narvik region – as a bit of a national plan to become a hydrogen nation.
In some scenarios up to 50% of the electricity demand in the EU by 2030, will be covered by energy from Renewable Energy Sources (RES). The energy production from RES is energy production from variable energy sources, whose production is subject to both seasonal as well as hourly weather variability. This is a situation that the power system has not coped with before. System flexibility is needed, and will increasingly be driven by supply variability – or all the energy from RES could be used to produce Hydrogen, without any need of transmission and distribution through the power system.
The traditional thinking is that new systems and tools are required to ensure that the renewable energy is integrated into the power system effectively. One of the options for providing the required flexibility to the power system, is energy storage through use of battery technologies. An another way of thinking is to use RES to produce hydrogen, and make hydrogen supply a stable energy source for delivery to the power system – the transmission of a variable energy source (RES) into a stable energy source (hydrogen).
International agreements – Norway has committed itself both through international agreements and national objectives to reduce the national emissions drastically in the years ahead, agreed upon according to the Kyoto protocol.
RES – Norway has more than enough renewable power resources to produce the needed amount of hydrogen – both to be self-sufficient and to export to EU.
Technology – Hydrogen is a highly interdisciplinary technology area which both demands knowledge about process technology and power production; fields in which Norwegian universities, research institutions and industry – maintain a high competance level.
Transport sector – Norway’s near-term emission reduction will be made in the transport sector. The transport sector points itself out as the most attractive choice for drastic emission reductions, base on the fact that Norway already is well on its way in this area, boasting the worlds best incentives for zero emission vehicles (electric vehicles). Now Norway has the opportunity to add hydrogen to the transportation fuel portfolio.
Export of sustainable energy
Norway will far into the future continue to have vast resources of renewable energy, and Norway has without comparison the largest hydro power resources in Europe, the best conditions for both on-and offshore wind, and a lot of possibilities to produce renewable energy from other sources.
The downturn of oil thus represents a unique chance for Norway to utilize its brain power and high competence within energy technology, not only to ensure future income from the export of energy – but also make the country fit for the future by exporting sustainable energy to the world markets.
After years of fossil fuel exports, many would argue that Norway has a special responsibility to do so as well.
Could hydrogen production and storage be Norway’s next oil?