Hydrogen a crucial element in the future European energy system

27. May 2019 | News

Hydrogen offers much needed flexibility to the future low-carbon energy system and has few if any alternatives. The potential is largest where direct electrification is not an option. Hydrogen presents interesting opportunities for Norwegian industry.

Hydrogen is an emission free energy carrier which can be produced with minimal CO2-emissions and could therefore be an important part of the solution to the climate change challenge. When hydrogen replaces fossil energy sources, emissions are reduced.

The largest potential for hydrogen exists in uses where direct electrification is not an option. Since hydrogen can be stored in large volumes for a long time, access to hydrogen based on electrolysis (green hydrogen) or steam methane reforming (SMR) of natural gas (blue hydrogen) can play a similar role as hydro storage in the power system. In areas with limited access to flexible hydro power, such as in most parts of Europe, hydrogen can therefore increasingly contribute to efficiency in the power system as solar and wind power shares increase.

Our model-based analysis of the European power balance shows that hydrogen could contribute to a cost-efficient transmission to a carbon free energy system in Europe. Hydrogen can be produced when there is excess generation of solar and wind power and be used to produce power in periods with low solar and wind generation. Without the flexibility offered by hydrogen, even more wind and solar capacity must be constructed, or more expensive and less suitable storage solutions must be put in place.

The simulations show clear synergies between green and blue hydrogen. Production of blue hydrogen does not depend on weather conditions, while green hydrogen can be produced at low cost in periods with excess renewable power generation.

Today, there are few alternatives to the long-term flexibility that hydrogen can offer. Hydrogen can therefore be an important element in a carbon-neutral European power system.

Norway has energy resources and industry and research institution with technology competence and commercial experience which may form an excellent basis for developing business related to hydrogen. Competitive uses of hydrogen are already implemented in telecom and fish farming.

The Norwegian Government is in the process to write a new strategy for hydrogen and the report presents a list of policy measures that could be considered as a part of such a strategy formulation.

This study gives an overview of the various value chains involved in hydrogen production, transportation and usage and discusses the role hydrogen could play in the future Norwegian and European energy system.

The project was commissioned by the Norwegian Ministry of Oil and Energy, Innovation Norway, Norwegian oil and gas, Petoro, Gassco, Norwegian Hydrogen Forum, and a group consisting of Småkraftforeninga (the mini power association), Sunnhordland kraftlag (power company), and Kvinnherad Energi.

Download the report (in Norwegian):

THEMA Rapport 2019-07 >> Systemvirkninger og næringsperspektiver ved hydrogen

Underlagsrapport til THEMA Rapport 2019-07 >>

Pressemelding >>

portrettbilde, forfatter

Eivind Magnus
Partner
eivind.magnus@thema.no
+47 908 88 339