THE BIG PICTURE: Hydrogen Power

Hydrogen is emerging as a formidable player in the energy transition, owing to its potential to decarbonize a range of sectors and its versatility. According to a June 2019–released report prepared for the G20 by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the government of Japan, 76% of dedicated hydrogen produced today (around 70 metric tons) is from natural gas and almost the rest from coal.

The top four single uses of hydrogen today are oil refining (33%); ammonia production (27%); methanol production (11%); and steel production via the direct reduction of iron ore (3%). In the past two decades, however, more than 200 projects have started operation to convert electricity and water into hydrogen (via electrolysis) to reduce emissions—from transport, natural gas use, and industrial sectors—or to support the integration of renewables into the energy system. This month’s graphic shows projects that have been commissioned since 2000, are under construction, or are planned that use hydrogen to supply power to the grid (with a gas turbine or fuel cell). Marked on the map below and listed below are 10 of the largest projects (ranked by MWe). Click on the map to launch an interactive version with more details.  Source: The Future of Hydrogen, IEA, 2019

—Sonal Patel is a POWER senior associate editor

Click on graphic to launch interactive version for more details.

1. Crystal Brook Energy Park, Australia (50-MWe). Along with hydrogen production, Neoen Australia’s “super-hub” facility will have 110-MW of wind, 100-MW of PV, and 100-MW of lithium-ion battery storage when it comes online in 2021. 

2. Port Lincoln project, Eyre Peninsula, Australia (15 MWe). Australian firm Hydrogen Utility in February 2019 picked Baker Hughes GE to develop its novaLT gas turbine generator for the green hydrogen power plant that could be online in 2021. 

3. Fukushima Power-to-gas Hydrogen Project, Japan (10 MWe). Slated to start in 2020, this power-to-gas project spearheaded by Japan’s government, Toshiba, Tohuku Electric, and Iwatani Corp. will house a hydrogen production facility alongside solar power generation facilities. 

4. Hebei, China (4 MWe). French hydrogen equipment firm McPhy completed this power-to-gas project, which stores surplus power from a 200-MW wind farm, in 2017 for Hebei Construction and Investment Group Co.

5. ELYGRID, Spain (3.5 MW). Between 2011 and 2014, this research project studied efficiency improvements at high pressure alkaline electrolysers that produced hydrogen from wind power. 

6. Markham Energy Storage, Canada (2.5 MWe). Hydrogenics Corp. and Enbridge Gas Distribution began operating this power-to-gas/energy storage facility in July 2018. It features a “next-generation” proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzer technology to provide Ontario’s independent grid operator with a fast-responding resource to support reliability. 

7. HAEOLUS, Norway (2.5 MWe). The European Union (EU)-backed  hydrogen system will be installed in Berlevåg at the end of 2019. It is another Hydrogenics project that will use advanced PEM electrolysers. 

8. Hassfurt, Germany (1.25 MWe). Wind power is converted to hydrogen and stored, and then combusted at an innovative cogeneration unit manufactured by 2G and owned by German utility Stadtwerke Hassfurt. The unit began operation in July 2019. 

9. Lam Takhong Wind Hydrogen Hybrid Project- EGAT, Thailand (1.2 MWe). The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) says  this project—a “wind-hydrogen hybrid “ that went online in 2018—uses a 1-MW  Hydrogenics PEM electrolyzer to use up curtailed power from a 24-MW wind farm and a 300-kW PEM fuel cell to repower the hydrogen. 

10. INGRID, Italy (1.15 MWe). Inaugurated in 2016, this EU-backed project in Troia showcases solid-state hydrogen storage technology that can be applied for energy storage and power-to-gas.

10. INGRID, Italy (1.15 MWe). Inaugurated in 2016, this EU-backed project in Troia showcases solid-state hydrogen storage technology that can be applied for energy storage and power-to-gas.