Renewable hydrogen

On the quest to decarbonise the global economy, heavy industry and transport pose significant challenges. We believe that renewable hydrogen is a promising source of clean fuel – and one that has the potential to play a vital role in the green transition.

We’ve come leaps and bounds in our efforts to decarbonise our electricity system. However, decarbonising some traditionally high-emission sectors, such as transport and heavy industry, poses a greater challenge.

We believe that, with the right investment and research, we can make renewable hydrogen a low-cost and widely available alternative to fossil fuels – and one that plays a vital role in the global green energy transition.

At Ørsted, we’re already taking active steps to speed up the adoption of renewable hydrogen in Northwestern Europe, bringing us one step to closer to our vision of a world that runs entirely on green energy.

Renewable hydrogen and e-fuels are of critical importance to curb climate change. Without them, it will be impossible to achieve full decarbonisation – and the clock is ticking.

Anders Christian Nordstrøm,

Vice President, Hydrogen, Ørsted

What is hydrogen?

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. In its purest form, hydrogen is usually a gas – a colourless, odourless substance that can be burnt to produce heat. It’s also one of the parts that make up a water molecule.

Approximately 96% of hydrogen consumed in Europe is produced through fossil fuels such as natural gas, emitting significant amounts of CO2 in the process. It can also be produced using biogas, nuclear power, or renewable energy.

How is renewable hydrogen produced?

Renewable hydrogen, also referred to as green hydrogen, is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using renewable electricity. The hydrogen is collected and used, while oxygen is released as the by-product if there’s no need for it locally. The splitting process used is known as hydrogen electrolysis, a well-established technology.

The role of renewable hydrogen in a carbon-free future

Industry and transport account for more than a third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Without a rapid re-imagining of their feedstocks, it will be impossible to constrain global temperature increase to less than 1.5°C.

Replacing fossil-based hydrogen with renewable hydrogen in industrial processes, as well as using renewable hydrogen to replace fossil fuels in heavy transport, would save huge amounts of carbon emissions and make a significant contribution to countries’ climate targets.

We believe that, with the right framework and timely investments, renewable hydrogen can be cost-competitive by 2030. But it will require a coordinated approach from policymakers, industry, and consumers – and we need to act now.

Read more and download our whitepaper

Advantages of renewable hydrogen

Renewable hydrogen comes with its own set of pros and cons. However, we believe that the disadvantages will be diminished as we continue to advance our technologies and cost-efficiencies.

  1. Renewable hydrogen is carbon-free
    Renewable hydrogen doesn’t emit polluting gases and offers a zero-emission alternative to fossil fuels.

  2. Renewable hydrogen can be produced locally
    Europe has an abundant source of renewable electricity in offshore wind, making it ideal for large-scale deployment of renewable hydrogen production.

  3. Renewable hydrogen has many applications
    There are at least three immediate uses for renewable hydrogen in the short term: to replace all uses of fossil-based hydrogen with renewable hydrogen; to use it in fuel cells in medium to heavy-duty land transport; and to use it in aviation and shipping via, using e-fuels based on renewable hydrogen.

The primary disadvantages of renewable hydrogen relate to cost as it’s more expensive to generate and obtain than fossil-based hydrogen.

For this reason, renewable hydrogen must embark on a cost-out and scale-up journey similar to the one we’ve seen in offshore wind.

What are we doing to support the zero-carbon economy?

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

Our projects

The Westküste 100 project

On Northern Germany's west coast, we’re cooperating with ten partners who share a vision of using renewable hydrogen to reduce fossil hydrogen consumption and produce green synthetic fuels, primarily for aviation.

Green fuels for Denmark

We’ve partnered with leading Danish companies to develop industrial-scale production of renewable hydrogen and sustainable e-fuels for road, maritime, and air transport.

Lingen Refinery project with BP

Together with BP, we’re developing a large-scale renewable hydrogen project at BP’s Lingen Refinery in north-western Germany. The project, expected to be operational in 2024, will comprise a 50 MW electrolyser system capable of generating one tonne of renewable hydrogen per hour.

Green ammonia project with Yara 

We’ve joined forces with Yara, the world's leading fertiliser company, to develop a groundbreaking green ammonia project in the Netherlands, with the potential to abate more than 100,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The Gigastack project

We’ve partnered with ITM Power, Philips 66 and Element Energy on a study to show how renewable hydrogen derived from offshore wind can support the UK's 2050 net-zero greenhouse gas emission target.


We’re constructing a 2 MW electrolysis plant at Avedøre Power Station. The plant will use electricity from the offshore wind turbines next to the site to produce renewable hydrogen for road transport.


In Project Oyster, we’ve partnered with three companies to demonstrate and investigate a combined wind turbine and electrolyser system designed for operation in marine environments.

SeaH2Land project

We’re working on a 1 GW renewable hydrogen production facility to decarbonise the production of ammonia, steel, ethylene, and fuels in the Dutch-Flemish North Sea Port cluster.

DFDS ferry

Together with DFDS and a number of other partners, we’re part of a project with the vision to operate a renewable hydrogen ferry to sail between Oslo and Copenhagen. The first of its kind, the ferry will be powered by a hydrogen fuel cell emitting only water.


  • Is hydrogen renewable?
    Yes, if produced from water via electrolysis using renewable power. 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 may be used for heating purposes, for instance in industry or district heating depending on the individual project.
  • How expensive is renewable hydrogen?
    With today’s very low natural gas prices and limited costs of carbon emissions, renewable hydrogen is approximately two to four times more expensive than fossil hydrogen.

    However, we believe that the price of renewable hydrogen can be on par with fossil-based hydrogen by 2030 – if policymakers and industry join forces and act now.
  • 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?

    There are at least three immediate uses for renewable hydrogen in the short term in the carbon-heavy sectors of industry and transport:

    • Replacing the use of fossil-based hydrogen with renewable hydrogen
    • In medium to heavy-duty land transport, using renewable hydrogen in fuel cells
    • In aviation and shipping, using e-fuels, such as methanol, ammonia, or kerosene based on renewable hydrogen.

  • 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 up and costs have come down, we’ll need enablers and incentives to bridge the current cost gap.

Decarbonising society with Power-to-X

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