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Charley Rattan's picture
World Hydrogen Leader Charley Rattan Associates

UK based offshore wind & hydrogen corporate advisor and trainer; Faculty member World Hydrogen Leaders. Delivering global hydrogen and offshore wind corporate investment advice, business...

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  • Jun 5, 2020

Parliament updated on the economic benefits of offshore wind and associated hydrogen opportunity



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Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jun 5, 2020

Charley, before green hydrogen becomes the backbone of any nation's "green recovery" its value will need to be demonstrated at  scale.

Currently the largest demonstration plants for converting renewable electricity to hydrogen are < 1 MW (Germany). Given Germany's average electricity consumption of 63 GW, it would require 63,000 of these plants to provide enough hydrogen to power Germany's grid - not to mention replacing German natural gas consumption. Offshore wind capacity would need to be doubled - 50% to power the grid, 50% to make hydrogen. During an extended period of cloudy weather, Germany would go dark.

The efficiency of the most cost-effective method of electrolysis (alkaline) is currently ~60%, conversion back to electricity via fuel-cells (PEM) is currently 50%.  With a round-trip efficiency of only 30%, 70% of electrical energy coming from offshore windfarms is wasted in the conversion.

A 50MW demonstration plant at the Port of Ostend, financed by three Belgian firms, is in the planning stages; sufficient offshore wind capacity to power the plant has yet to be built. To produce enough electricity to power Belgium's grid would require "only" 182 of these plants.

One day, taking the massively inefficient step of converting renewable electricity to hydrogen, and back again, may pose a temporary, location-dependent solution to the intermittency problem plaguing renewable sources of electricity from the start. But for now, the "economic opportunities" for green hydrogen are based not on evidence, but wishful thinking.

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Charley Rattan on Jun 6, 2020

Certainly agree eith you that scaleability is vital Bob,  let's see how the next tranche of projects progress.  All kinds of people are looking at hydrogen

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