The European Union continues to innovate on solutions to renewable energy storage challenges. Hydrogen is considered an abundant source of green energy, but traditional production methods rely on steam methane reforming powered by fossil fuels. The EU is investing in greener methods of hydrogen production to meet climate change goals, stating the intention to build 40 gigawatts of green hydrogen electrolysers – powered by offshore wind farms and solar – by 2030. Initial estimates show that 80 to 120 gigawatts of solar and wind will be needed to power these electrolysers, which will further production of green hydrogen in the market.
Haskel VP and GM Stephen Learney shared with us, “Five years ago, the majority of market opinion dismissed Hydrogen as a mainstream fuel because of the high cost of production. Meanwhile, demand for Haskel’s hydrogen refuelling products was increasing rapidly, and we were debating whether we should be over-investing in our hydrogen products as part of our long-term growth strategy. As part of our planning process, I attended a renewable energy conference, where an argument was made to use the curtailed surplus energy from wind farms, to produce and store the excess energy as hydrogen—a lightbulb moment! Virtually free energy to use on demand as hydrogen. We built hydrogen refuelling into our long-term strategy and it’s paying off, with demand for our refuelling stations coming from all over the world and major projects like Dolphyn offshore-wind happening just north of Haskel’s UK facility and the Sofia wind farm just south.” (Read more in our interview with Steve.) Haskel’s investment in hydrogen refuelling stations will help to bring this to municipalities throughout the EU.
Energy storage is just one challenge addressed by wind farm electrolysis. Another significant challenge is the varying regulations for setback distances of wind generators from settlements. For onshore wind, regulations vary country by country and village by village, and can be defined as a function of the rotor diameter, hub height, or acceptable noise levels. To tackle this, many countries are turning to offshore wind to alleviate these constraints.
The European Union plans to increase offshore wind farm capacity 25x by 2050 and to pour 470 billion euros into its hydrogen strategy. Several large-scale initiatives are already underway.
Offshore wind is the focus of the German-led AquaVentus initiative - the largest green hydrogen proposal to date – which aims to deploy up to 10GW of green hydrogen by 2035 through industrial-scale floating electrolysers.
Also taking shape is the NortH2 project off the coast of the Netherlands. As one of Europe's biggest green hydrogen projects, NortH2 aims to produce up to 4 million kW of offshore wind power by 2030, which will power seawater-to-hydrogen electrolysis, with the hydrogen delivered to industries across the Netherlands and Western Europe. It has the potential to reduce carbon emissions by an annual 8-10 million tons by 2040. Denmark also has an islanded green hydrogen trial in operation, and Germany is considering awarding areas at sea for hydrogen production in its national hydrogen strategy.
Investments in hydrogen production, hydrogen refuelling infrastructure, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are helping to establish a path toward zero-emissions targets. Haskel’s hydrogen refuelling solutions have been designed to be hydrogen agnostic, operating effectively with hydrogen produced from all sources. With a range of systems available to make use of the green hydrogen produced, flexible refuelling stations such as Haskel’s Nano and Geno refuelling stations are primed to accelerate the infrastructure roll out and maximise the benefits from green hydrogen expansion.
As the hydrogen infrastructure evolves, Haskel’s innovative hydrogen refuelling solutions are at the ready: