By Lars Udby, CEO Hydrogen Valley, Part of House of Energy
The article was published in Danish at www.Energy-Supply.dk on 4 April 2018.
Soon one of Europe’s most advanced hydrogen plants will be inaugurated in Hobro. Next year hydrogen busses will be driving through the city of Aalborg and the surrounding area. 2018 will also be the year where the first course of training within the field of hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles for auto mechanics in Europe will be initiated in Viborg.
The above-mentioned activities are some of the latest examples on how hydrogen projects are emerging in recent years in Denmark, while building on experiences and creating synergy. Amongst the participants are companies such as Ballard Power Systems and SerEnergy which both produce fuel cells; organisations like Hydrogen Valley that establish hydrogen projects such as the HyBalance plant in Hobro; an upcoming methanation facility in Skive; a methane project in Foulum; municipalities such as Mariagerfjord which have been supporting different hydrogen projects for many years; and the cities of Aalborg and Herning which now invest in hydrogen busses, and also Nel Hydrogen that produce hydrogen fuelling stations.
Thanks to the above-mentioned companies and organisations, Denmark is really putting itself on the map as a country where the potential of hydrogen is uncovered and developed.
And the potential of hydrogen is big.
Thus, there is no denying the importance of hydrogen in the green transition of the energy system. The production of hydrogen through electrolysis can contribute to balance the grid, for instance, when wind turbines produce more electricity than we can consume. Hydrogen can store large amounts of electricity from solar energy and wind power, creating new energy through fuel cells in cars, busses, trains and ferries etc. Through methanation, hydrogen can be added to the existing natural gas grid, where the CO2 from biogas and hydrogen is converted into methane and hereby contribute to reduce the share of fossilized natural gas in the heating supply. Hydrogen can also be included in the production of methanol that can be added to gasoline and thus reducing the CO2 emissions in the transport sector. Therefore, hydrogen is a crucial element in the integration of the energy system, including the integration of renewable energy to the transport sector, if we are to meet our goal of making Denmark fossil-free by 2050, as decided by a majority of the Danish Parliament.
Even though we are erecting more wind turbines and building solar parks, accelerating the electrification and using the power directly in electrical cars, heat pumps and other power consuming units, the storage of electricity remains a major challenge.
Demonstrating the potential of hydrogen has in recent years boosted the northern part of Jutland. And like other places such as the robot-cluster on Funen “Odense Robotics”, the projects create synergy and give rise to new activities. The latest initiative is the establishment of the “Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Vehicle” training course in Viborg. From early next year, this will be the place where auto mechanics are taught how to repair and maintain hydrogen vehicles through three different modules. The training course is established through a partnership between Ballard Power Systems Europe, which maintains 34 hydrogen busses in the European road system; the educational institution Mercantec in Viborg; Hydrogen Valley; the hydrogen bus producer Van Hool and Aberdeen City Council in Scotland.
This is a European project cooperation, supported by the Erasmus+ program, where Aberdeen and Viborg will become the first towns in Europe to offer such education.
About Hydrogen Valley
Hydrogen Valley is part of the energy cluster House of Energy.
Hydrogen Valley focuses on green gasses and fuels such as hydrogen, biogas and methanol.
The centre is situated in a business park in Hobro called CEMTEC and is financed by the North Denmark Region and the municipality of Mariagerfjord.