As the installation rates of wind power and solar PV surge, PtX (Power to X) is becoming increasingly more important for the green transition.
In PtX technologies electricity from renewable sources is converted into other energy carriers, such as hydrogen and ammonia. These energy carriers can bring renewables into sectors that cannot be easily converted to electricity. These sectors include heavy transportation, e.g. long-distance trucks and oceangoing ships, high-temperature industrial processes, steel making, etc.
Hydrogen production is the fundamental enabler of the conversion of electricity into PtX fuels. The “X” may be just that, i.e. hydrogen, or the hydrogen may be postprocessed with other elements to make other types of “X”, such as ammonia (combining hydrogen with nitrogen) or methanol (combining hydrogen with carbon and oxygen).
Hydrogen is produced through electrolysis of water. Water is split into oxygen and hydrogen when a direct current is applied to the water. When the energy for the process is supplied from renewables, the hydrogen is referred to as green hydrogen.
Over the years green hydrogen has gone through a number of hype-cycles, but this time the market fundamentals are right: Wind and solar are now established as abundant, low-cost energy sources. As the cost of wind and solar drops, investment in green hydrogen infrastructure is taking off with a rapidly growing pipeline.
However, hydrogen electrolyzer technology remains costly and with the current technology the cost of green hydrogen from average-cost renewables cannot compete with hydrogen produced from fossil fuels. Despite the hype, the competitive disadvantage of green hydrogen will serve as a brake on the global-scale deployment of green hydrogen.
At Stiesdal PtX Technologies we are developing the HydroGen electrolyzer, an industrialized unit for hydrogen production at low cost.
The HydroGen electrolyzer takes industrialization of hydrogen production to a new level, based on an innovative electrode design and a highly rationalized balance of plant.
The first megawatt-scale, serial version of the HydroGen electrolyzer unit is expected early 2022.