Large-scale production of green hydrogen

Norwegian HydrogenÅlesund

Romsdal’s first green hydrogen plant. Norwegian Hydrogen is the company behind the project that will produce and sell green hydrogen in Norway and the Nordic countries.

The world needs sustainable energy development and a transition to renewables such as hydrogen. This element can store energy for later use or storage, and many believe it is the best fuel for the future. Green hydrogen is produced by electrolysis powered by renewables such as solar, hydro, and wind power.

Fuel for maritime customers

The Norwegian parliament, the Storting, has decided to implement a zero emission regime in the Geiranger Fjord area from 2026. This means that all tourist ships and ferries entering the fjord must be powered by emission-free engines powered by hydrogen, batteries, or similar. The zero emission requirement has been introduced in order to preserve our unique fjords and to contribute to the UN goal of not exceeding 1.5ºC of global warming.

The special thing about Hellesylt is that it sometimes has a lot of ‘bottled up power’. In other words, it produces more electricity from wind power than can be used and exported out of the area. This makes it the perfect place for producing green hydrogen, and the plant will be able to deliver 1.3 tonnes of green hydrogen to the market per day by the end of 2023.

Norwegian Hydrogen’s main market will be maritime customers such as ferries, yachts, and cruise ships, as well as road haulage customers. There is also a large industrial market where the demand for emission-free energy carriers is high.

“We want the distribution to be as close as possible to the actual production. This means that ferries and ships, lorries and articulated lorries should be able to fill up in Hellesylt. We also want to be able to distribute by tanker in containers to other filling stations further away,” says Marielle Furnes Mannseth, Brand and Marketing Director at Norwegian Hydrogen.

She adds that for projects in other parts of the Nordic region, which is the company’s focus market, it wants to produce there, out in the market.

Funding from the Pilot-E programme

The hydrogen plant in Hellesylt has received NOK 46.6 million in funding from the Pilot-E programme. The funding programme was established by Innovation Norway, the Research Council of Norway, and Enova, and it is designed to contribute to significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and more efficient energy utilisation in Norway and internationally.

“We were completely dependent on support and risk mitigation when it came to starting this project and other projects. We have private owners who have provided the majority of the investment, although we still could not do it without the help of the business support system," says Mannseth.

“The company is an early adopter within large-scale green hydrogen production and there is a lot of financial and technical risk associated with this complex project. In order to realise it, it is important that we sufficiently mitigate the risk,” says Alfred Øverland, innovation adviser at Innovation Norway Møre og Romsdal.

Innovation Norway expects a lot to be learned that will be useful for other players that want to do the same in the future.

“Hydrogen will be an important energy carrier for vessels where the operating profile is not, for example, suitable for batteries. However, the project is about more than hydrogen production, it’s about the entire value chain. We need players that dare to, and will, industrialise these processes,” points out Øverland.

Exploiting by-products

The by-products from hydrogen production are heat and oxygen, and Norwegian Hydrogen wants to exploit these with a view to the circular economy and ensuring that hydrogen prices are more competitive. For example, the heat from production in Hellesylt will be used to heat a local hotel and the oxygen will be used for fish farming.

The Ålesund company is a driving force behind making hydrogen a key factor in the green transition and is working closely with relevant business clusters such as Ocean Hyway cluster, GCE Blue Maritime, Skift, Zero, and Energi i Nord.

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