Power-to-X: Renewable hydrogen and other green fuels

Ships used to be powered by the wind – what if they can be again? 

How it works

The science that makes wind into fuel and fertiliser

Many areas of industry and most forms of heavy transport, such as long-distance ships and airplanes, are hard to power directly with electricity. So, how can we use electricity to power them in a different way? 

Power-to-X means using renewable electricity, for example wind power, to create something else (‘X’). The ‘X’ created is an energy carrier – usually renewable hydrogen, which can power medium- to heavy-duty transport or be used in industry. 

Renewable hydrogen, or green hydrogen, can in turn be synthesised into other green fuels, such as e-methanol for shipping, e-kerosene for aviation, and e-ammonia for industrial use in fertilisers or as a shipping fuel. We also call these electro-fuels, or e-fuels.

The scientific process used to create green hydrogen is electrolysis. In other words, green electricity is used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

Renewable power
×

Renewable electricity is generated from wind farms or solar centres and transmitted to the grid or directly to electrolysers.

Electrolysis
×

Electrolysis involves splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen with the help of electricity. Electrolysis produces renewable hydrogen if powered by green energy.

H2 Renewable hydrogen
×

We can use renewable hydrogen in industry or to power medium- to heavy-duty transport. We can also use it to create other green fuels – for shipping, aviation, or industrial use in fertilisers, among other things.

Power-to-X
  • Renewable power
    Renewable electricity is generated from wind farms or solar centres and transmitted to the grid or directly to electrolysers.
  • Electrolysis

    Electrolysis involves splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen with the help of electricity. Electrolysis produces renewable hydrogen if powered by green energy.
  • H2 Renewable hydrogen
    We can use renewable hydrogen in industry or to power medium- to heavy-duty transport. We can also use it to create other green fuels – for shipping, aviation, or industrial use in fertilisers, among other things.

Growth

Power-to-X will become a solid pillar in the energy system

We are committed to truly delivering concrete solutions to the complex problems which the world is facing

Olivia Breese

Head of Power-to-X, Ørsted

One third of global carbon emissions come from industry and heavy transport. While we have the science for producing green hydrogen and green fuels to decarbonise these sectors, the challenge is to:

  • combine and scale the solutions
  • make them cost-competitive
  • make them work in unison with fluctuating renewable energy production.

At Ørsted, we like a challenge. We’ve set our sights on creating a world that runs entirely on green energy, after all. Using our experience as the global leader in offshore wind, we’re moving full speed ahead to accelerate deployment of Power-to-X. 

We have projects underway in Europe and the US. By 2025, our FlagshipONE facility in Sweden will start producing 50,000 tonnes of e-methanol every year – green fuel that will enable vessels to sail carbon-free.

Ørsted at World Hydrogen 2023 Summit & Exhibition

”If you actually want to get to net-zero, how do you achieve that?” Olivia Breese, Head of Power-to-X, joined the conversation at World Hydrogen 2023 Summit & Exhibition.

Benefits

Key benefits of Power-to-X 

Helps meet climate targets 


Renewable hydrogen offers a zero-emission alternative to fossil fuels. Deploying it can make a significant contribution to countries’ climate targets.


Can be produced locally


It only takes water and green electricity to produce renewable hydrogen. In each market where we develop a Power-to-X project, we focus on sourcing renewable power locally, whether it’s from offshore wind, onshore wind, or solar PV.


Has many immediate uses


Green hydrogen can replace all uses of fossil-based hydrogen in heavy industry and be applied in new areas of industry. It can also be used in fuel cells in medium- to heavy-duty transport, and in the air and maritime sectors via synthesis to green fuels.
Our projects

Ørsted's Power-to-X projects


In order to truly scale Power-to-X technology and make it cost-competitive at the speed that’s needed to decarbonise society, we need partners. That’s why we’re working with leading demand partners, industry partners, and regulatory partners to develop large-scale production of green fuels.

FlagshipONE  

FlagshipONE is Europe’s largest e-methanol production project, and an important step towards decarbonising shipping.

FAQs

Frequently asked questions about Power-to-X, green hydrogen, and other green fuels

  • Is hydrogen renewable?
    Yes, if produced from water via electrolysis using renewable electricity. Traditionally, producing hydrogen is associated with high carbon emissions, but by using electrolysis powered by renewable energy, the process is carbon-free.
  • Does the production of renewable hydrogen generate any waste?
    The only by-products from hydrogen production are oxygen and waste heat. The oxygen is vented to the air, which already consists of 21 % oxygen. The waste heat can be used for heating purposes, for instance in industry or district heating, depending on the individual project.
  • How expensive is renewable hydrogen?
    Renewable hydrogen comes at a price premium to fossil-based alternatives. However, with the right regulation and industry action, we believe that gap can be closed. 
  • Is renewable hydrogen safe?
    Yes, hydrogen is safe if handled correctly. Hydrogen is a non-toxic gas at room temperature and atmospheric pressure. Hydrogen is explosive under certain conditions when mixed with air – similar to natural gas. Therefore, tried and tested international standards exist on how to design and monitor hydrogen installations.
  • What are the uses of hydrogen?

    Renewable hydrogen can:

    • replace all uses of fossil-based hydrogen in heavy industry and be applied in new areas of industry
    • be used in fuel cells in medium- to heavy-duty land transport
    • be used in aviation and shipping via synthesis to green fuels, such as e-methanol, e-ammonia, or e-kerosene.
  • How can we speed up the adoption of renewable hydrogen?
    Policymakers play a key role in making renewable hydrogen a successful carbon-neutral alternative to fossil energy sources. Until the technology has been scaled and costs have come down, we’ll need enablers and incentives to bridge the current cost gap.