White paper

Decarbonising society
with Power-to-X

A path to scaling production and uptake of renewable hydrogen and sustainable e-fuels

Table of Contents
  1. Foreword
  2. Power to X
  3. The potential of power to X
  4. Renewable hydrogen in the energy system
  5. Bringing down costs
  6. Recommendations
  7. Power to X is essential
  8. Get in touch with the authors
  9. About Ørsted

Power-to-X is essential to stay within 1.5°C

By 2030, global greenhouse gas emissions need to be halved in order to limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C by 2100. And by mid-century, global emissions must essentially be brought down to net-zero

Getting there will require an ambitious ‘all-of-the-above’ mitigation policy, using all relevant means to decarbonise energy use. It cannot be achieved without large scale power-to-X technologies. We’re in a hurry to develop and deploy renewable hydrogen and e-fuels production at scale. And even if all this is implemented at once, it will take around a decade before renewable hydrogen can become cost- competitive to its fossil alternatives.

Still, we expect this to happen. We have seen costs of renewable power generation decline rapidly to the point where renewable generation from solar and on- and offshore wind is now cheaper than coal or gas-based power generation. This presents a unique opportunity to leverage renewable energy in decarbonising other sectors. And today, just as with renewable power years ago, we see both future producers and consumers of renewable hydrogen flocking to invest, to set the development in motion. Once the ball starts rolling, we might even be surprised by the speed of the development – as has been the case for wind, solar and battery technology.

By 2050, power consumption is set to rise by 150% to fuel Europe’s green transformation

Source: European Commission 2018, 1.5TECH Scenario

Much remains to be done. And the effort required is staggering. The EU Commission estimates, for example, that for Europe to reach its target of becoming climateneutral by 2050 will increase power demand by up to 150% compared to today. While some of this new demand will be driven by direct electrification and some of it by general economic development, production of renewable hydrogen and e-fuels will drive more than half of Europe’s growing power demand towards 2050. Citation European Commission 2018, A Clean Planet for all, COM(2018) 773, 1.5TECH Scenario

For power-to-X – and the green transformation at large – to succeed will require effort from policymakers, investors, producers of renewable energy and industrial consumers. At Ørsted, we’re committed to doing our part in scaling up renewable hydrogen and e-fuels. With this paper, we have outlined a way forward towards deep decarbonisation.

Examples of Ørsted's hydrogen projects

At Ørsted, we develop and construct renewable energy projects across the globe, with large-scale renewable electricity projects operating or underway in Northwestern Europe, the United States and the Asia-Pacific region. Building on these experiences, we have ambitious plans to accelerate deployment of renewable hydrogen production and power-to-X, with a current focus on North-western Europe, and an eye on other parts of the world.

Green fuels for Denmark
The Green Fuels for Denmark project unites leading Danish companies to develop industrial-scale production of renewable hydrogen and sustainable e-fuels for road, maritime and air transport. By combining both supply and consumer side actors, the project seeks to develop 10MW electrolyser capacity by 2023, 250MW electrolyser capacity with e-fuel production by 2027, and a vision to scale up to 1.3GW by 2030. The electricity is to be sourced from offshore wind farms off the coast of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea. By then, the main part of renewable hydrogen will be combined with sustainably sourced carbon, to produce 250,000 tons of e-kerosene and e-methanol per year.
Westküste 100
Westküste 100 in Germany sets out to contribute in making industrial processes, aviation, construction and heating more sustainable, using renewable hydrogen at scale. The project consortium works to develop, build and operate a regional hydrogen economy at industrial scale, including a 30MW electrolyser system and with the goal of scaling up to 700MW hydrogen electrolysis. In the first step, renewable hydrogen from a 30MW electrolyser will replace current fossil hydrogen at the Heide Refinery in Schleswig-Holstein. Other elements in the project is the test of cavern-storage of hydrogen, test of a pipeline system and feasibility study of future e-fuel synthesis, including large-scale electrolysis. It is the first large-scale hydrogen project to receive funding from the German Reallabor funding program.
The partners of the Gigastack project in the UK work to optimise production and deployment of large-scale electrolysers. As manufacturing costs of electrolysers are an important cost-driver for renewable hydrogen, the project involves development and test of a new modular 5MW stack design, a semi-automated manufacturing facility and different operational innovations to facilitate cost savings. The project also includes a front end engineering and design (FEED) study of a 100MW electrolyser system at the Phillips 66 Humber Refinery, powered by energy from Ørsted’s Hornsea 2 offshore wind farm, currently under construction in the British North Sea. The project has secured funding from the UK BEIS Hydrogen Supply Competition.

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