The Hydrogen Stream: Fuel cell solutions for electrical peak load coverage


Rolls-Royce Holdings' Power Systems business unit is supplying its mtu fuel cell solutions for electrical peak load coverage for a hydrogen project at the container terminal currently under construction at the Port of Duisburg in Germany. “The hydrogen-powered mtu fuel cell solutions supply electrical power as soon as the public power grid reaches its limits, for example for the on-board power supply of ships berthed in the port or in the event of other load peaks,” the German-based company announced Thursday. In addition, two combined heat and power plants with 4000 series mtu hydrogen engines convert hydrogen into electricity, which will be fed into the supply network of the future container terminal or into the public grid. “The waste heat is used for process heat or for heating buildings in and around the port,” it added. Duisport is working with several partners to build a hydrogen-based supply network by 2023.

German energy company RWE signed a contract with professional services firm Jacobs to investigate the production and supply of green hydrogen at the Pembroke Power Station site in Wales. “The study will take four months, completing in March 2022, and include investigations into the feasibility of initially installing a 100 megawatt (MW) electrolyser to produce green hydrogen from local and grid connected renewable energy,” the company said Friday, adding that the project could grow to several gigawatts in scale. Linked to floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea, it would be one of the UK’s largest green hydrogen plants in development.

The European Commission has adopted a set of legislative proposals to decarbonize the EU gas market by facilitating the uptake of low carbon gases, including hydrogen. “One of the main aims is to establish a market for hydrogen, create the right environment for investment, and enable the development of dedicated infrastructure, including for trade with third countries,” the European Commission said Wednesday. “The market rules will be applied in two phases, before and after 2030, and notably cover access to hydrogen infrastructures, separation of hydrogen production and transport activities, and tariff setting.” The Commission is creating a new governance body, the European Network of Network Operators for Hydrogen (ENNOH), to promote a dedicated hydrogen infrastructure, cross-border coordination and interconnector network construction, and elaborate on specific technical rules. According to an analysis by the Florence School of Regulation (FSR), ENNOH will be in charge of writing relevant network codes as well as union-wide, non-binding ten-year network development plans (TYNDPs) for the hydrogen sector. More importantly, as written by FSR, hydrogen interconnection projects will now be eligible to apply for funding if they fall within the scope of the wider TYNDPs of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSOG). The hydrogen sector will have to respect the unbundling principle stated in the Third Energy Package. The proposal includes temporary exemptions through the end of 2030. FSR also reports that renewable and low carbon hydrogen will receive a 75% discount from various entry and exit tariffs as per Article 16 of the Gas Regulation, while blends of up to 5% hydrogen volume into natural gas flows will be accepted and facilitated at cross-border points from October 2025. According to other analysts, a clear definition and a certification process for low-carbon hydrogen are still needed.

Research by Oregon State University into the design of catalysts has reportedly shown that hydrogen can be cleanly produced with much greater efficiency and at lower cost than is possible with current commercially available catalysts. “An active phase of a catalyst based on amorphous iridium hydroxide exhibited efficiency 150 times that of its original perovskite structure and close to three orders of magnitude better than the common commercial catalyst, iridium oxide,” the American university wrote last week. Zhenxing Feng, the chemical engineering professor who led the research, said the advances in catalysts for green hydrogen production can help slash costs. “We found at least two groups of materials that undergo irreversible changes that turned out to be significantly better catalysts for hydrogen production,” Feng said. “This can help us produce hydrogen at $2 per kilogram and eventually $1 per kilogram.”

Raymond Carlsen, the CEO of Norwegian renewable energy company Scatec, met on Wednesday with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to discuss plans for large-scale seawater desalination, hydrogen and ammonia production based on renewable power in the country. The aim is to develop Egypt into a renewable hub for the region. The large-scale green ammonia manufacturing facility will be located in the Suez Canal Economic Zone. Carlsen described the company's involvement in the project “a key milestone in the implementation of Scatec’s Power-to-X strategy. We are very proud to be partnering again with the Egyptian government to turn Egypt into a green ammonia hub for export, leveraging the Suez Canal strategic location and the support of the country’s leadership for green initiatives.” Scatec recently announced plans for a 100 MW green hydrogen plant in the Mediterranean country. Also this week, Israeli authorities announced funding for hydrogen technology in the country.

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The Norwegian government is providing NOK 1 billion (€98.3 million) in funding to three maritime sector hydrogen projects led by Yara Norge, Tizir Titanium & Iron (TTI) and Horisont Energi, government agency Enova announced Friday. “These projects contribute to an investment in the development of solutions for hydrogen for industrial purposes in Norway, with the potential for spreading technology and learning globally,” said Enova CEO Nils Kristian Nakstad. Yara Norge, which will receive up to NOK 283 million, will carry out a demonstration project for the production of ammonia and fertilizers based on renewable energy. Tizir Titanium & Iron (up to NOK 261 million) will develop a demonstration project to use hydrogen instead of coal to reduce ilmenite at a smelter in Tyssedal. Horisont Energi (up to NOK 482 million) will establish ammonia production from natural gas with carbon capture near Hammerfest in the northern Norwegian region of Finnmark.

Ukraine wants to become a leader in hydrogen production with the support of the European Union. “Our country is … ready to become a leader in the development of hydrogen energy, which will allow it to gain full energy independence and achieve climate neutrality,” the Ukrainian president's office announced on its website Wednesday following the sixth Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels. The country also wants to promote the modernization of checkpoints and infrastructure upgrades, and the digital transformation of the energy system. “In all these projects, Ukraine counts on the support of the EU and international financial institutions,” said President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Iveco, a subsidiary of Italian-American corporation CNH Industrial, has signed a memorandum of understanding to develop hydrogen mobility in Europe with Paris-based industrial gas business Air Liquide. “Both partners will dedicate means and resources to study the roll-out of heavy-duty fuel-cell electric long-haul trucks coupled with the deployment of a network of renewable or low-carbon hydrogen refuelling stations along the main trans-European transport corridors,” Iveco said Tuesday. “In parallel, both companies will jointly promote initiatives to encourage hydrogen mobility by involving all stakeholders along the entire value-chain.” The company is already active in the hydrogen sector, with partnerships in several countries, including a collaboration with Nikola in Ulm, Germany. Meanwhile, Reuters reported that French auto supplier Faurecia will decide next year whether to build an industrial site for hydrogen tanks in the United States to supply fuel cell electric vehicles, while automotive manufacturing Stellantis is starting limited production of commercial vans from Peugeot, Citroen and Opel.

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