Article with Søren Rydbirk CCO in H2View
Our new CCO was interviewed in the latest issue of H2 View. Søren highlights the benefits of our pressurised alkaline electrolysis technology in large-scale projects like energyislands.
Q1. Thanks for taking five with H2 View. Søren, you’re new in your role at Green Hydrogen Systems having joined the company at the beginning of February. What made you want to join a hydrogen-focused company?
For many years, I have been working in technology companies like Vestas Wind Systems and Novozymes with a strong focus on sustainability. Electrification of our energy system based on renewables such as wind and solar has always been my core belief. Renewables will continue to play a fundamental role in driving our energy transition away from fossil fuels, however, not all energy systems can be directly electrified. Industry segments such as steel production, mining or heavy transportation, which account for around 65% of greenhouse gas emission in Europe, are difficult to decarbonise and green hydrogen is a solution.
The interest in the green hydrogen technology coming from politicians, investors, and industry players is growing immensely – and so is the interest in our company, Green Hydrogen Systems. Personally, I find it inspiring to be part of the development of green hydrogen as part of the renewable energy mix and further accelerate the energy transition away from fossil fuels. The industry is still maturing, similarly to what we have seen within the wind sector years back, but the growing market demand and governmental initiatives are now accelerating the need to scale-up green hydrogen, and thereby the demand for electrolysis equipment which is the heart of green hydrogen production.
Q2. To meet the accelerating demand for electrolyser capacity, Green Hydrogen Systems recently raised €28m to scale-up its operations. How is the company gearing up to meet that demand?
The recent investment from A.P Moeller Holding and the existing shareholders, was a vote of confidence in our company and the incredible market potential we are looking into. First and foremost, we are investing heavily in scaling up our technology and operations to deliver solutions that lower the levelized cost of hydrogen (LCOH). We have just completed the first phase of our new 150 MW capacity factory, equipped with the technology to fully optimise our manufacturing process. In subsequent planned phases, the new facility can be scaled to 30,000 square meters – enough space to manufacture electrolysers with 1,000 MW capacity yearly – as demand for our electrolysers continues to grow. In parallel, we have heavily accelerated the work on our multi-MW platforms, which is fundamental to drive down LCOH towards cost parity with fossil fuels. Multi-MW electrolyser technology is required for large scale PtX projects, such as the recently announced energy islands.
Scaling up goes hand in hand with our ability to capture significant market shares in the growing market, which is why we also invest in our commercial activities. In addition to the current sales & marketing set up in Denmark and France, we expect in the short term to establish direct sales in Germany, Benelux and potentially South Europe. Near term we also consider investing in an Australian sales setup, as we expect Australia to become a green hydrogen hub in the Asia-Pacific region. In addition to investment in direct sales, we will continuously form partnerships with both large project developers and renewable energy integrators and local companies that can support installation and service during operation.
Q3. What is the potential for green hydrogen in energy island projects?
Denmark, where Green Hydrogen Systems is headquartered, is establishing the World’s first energy islands by 2030, with the aim to produce 5 GW electricity, enough to supply 5 mill households. Such surplus can be converted into green hydrogen and other climate-neutral fuels for planes, ships, district heating, heavy-road transport, and heavy industry. Projects of such magnitude, coupling all parts of the energy system, will lower the levelized cost of hydrogen. We are currently sharpening our capabilities through a similar project called GreenLab Skive, a sustainable, circular, industrial park and intelligent energy platform built on a similar concept to an energy island. Green Hydrogen Systems, together with partners in the GreenLab Skive project, are building the first large scale PtX plant in the world. This large-scale production and storage of green hydrogen from solar and wind will be partly processed into green methanol for use in the transport sector and partly used directly as a green, zero-emission fuel for heavy transport. The core of the plant is a ‘hydrogen factory’ based on a 12 MW electrolysis plant (in phase one).
Q4. H2 View understands you’re working on projects in Europe and Denmark. Can you tell us about these?
Just to name a few, apart from GreenLab Skive, we have established the first hydrogen refuelling stations in Sweden and Denmark, delivering hydrogen for cars and busses. Recently, we connected our electrolysis module directly to a Siemens-Gamesa wind turbine in Flø in an ‘island mode set up – the plan is to directly fuel transportation by green hydrogen. Furthermore, the Netherlands’ largest regional energy company has chosen Green Hydrogen Systems for grid balancing of a solar park in Oosterwolde – here the plant produces hydrogen when solar panels make excess energy. Later this year, we will deliver 2 MW plant to our customer Oersted for a plant utilising offshore wind energy in combination with grid power to produce hydrogen as fuel for 20-30 buses.
Q5. And what are the benefits of pressurised alkaline water electrolysis technology in such big-scale projects?
We have explored different technologies and have decided to fully prioritise pressurised alkaline electrolysis as our core technology. The technology is well-positioned in terms of reliability, efficiency, and physical footprint. It can operate dynamically at variable loads with fast ramp-up and down which is key for integration with renewable power – and our stacks have an expected lifetime of over 10 years. As another advantage our electrolysers do not require scarce and price-sensitive materials like iridium and platinum. In general, we focus on providing standardised electrolysers based on a modular design, and each module can be used as a stand-alone electrolyser or combined in clusters for larger multi-MW applications. All modules are pre-tested at our factory in Kolding before being shipped to the customer. This approach allows for rapid deployment on-site. Furthermore, the standard modular design is suited for serial manufacturing at industrial scale which will enable us to drive down the costs of our electrolysers considerably.