bp and Ørsted unveil green hydrogen project
bp and Ørsted have signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to develop a project for industrial-scale production of green hydrogen.
In their proposed Lingen Green Hydrogen project, the two firms intend to build an electrolyser and associated infrastructure at bp’s Lingen Refinery in north-west Germany. The 50MW electrolyser project is expected to produce one tonne an hour of green hydrogen or almost 9,000 tonnes a year.
This would be sufficient to replace around 20 percent of the refinery’s current grey hydrogen consumption, avoiding around 80,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions a year – equivalent to the emissions from around 45,000 cars in Germany.
This will be powered by renewable energy generated by an Ørsted offshore wind farm in the North Sea and the hydrogen produced will be used in the refinery.
Under their LOI, bp and Ørsted will now work together to further define the project, agree definitive documents and plan to make a final investment decision (FID) early 2022, subject to appropriate enabling policies being in place.
The companies anticipate the project could be operational by 2024. Electrolysis splits water into hydrogen and oxygen gases. When powered by renewable energy, this produces ‘green’ hydrogen, without generating direct carbon emissions.
Hydrogen is widely used in refinery processes where – as in Lingen – it is now typically produced by reforming natural gas, which does result in CO2 emissions. This is also known as ‘grey’ hydrogen.
Green hydrogen is made by the electrolysis of water using renewable power, producing zero emissions.
Dev Sanyal, bp’s executive vice president for gas and low carbon, said hydrogen will have an increasing role to play in meeting the energy demands of a decarbonizing world.
"Bringing together Ørsted and bp, Lingen Green Hydrogen offers the opportunity both to accelerate significant emissions reduction in our refinery and build experience of large-scale green hydrogen production and deployment. This has the potential to play an important role in the development of a hydrogen economy, in Germany and beyond.”
Martin Neubert, executive vice president and CEO of offshore wind for Ørsted, added: “Heavy industries such as refineries use large quantities of hydrogen in their manufacturing processes. They will continue to need hydrogen, but replacing the current fossil-based hydrogen with hydrogen produced from renewable energy can help these industries dramatically lower their CO2 footprint.
"But first, renewable hydrogen has to become cost competitive with fossil-based hydrogen, and for that we need projects such as this with bp’s Lingen refinery which will demonstrate the electrolyser technology at large scale and showcase real-life application of hydrogen based on offshore wind.”
In the coming decades, hydrogen is expected to play a critical role in decarbonising the power, industry and transport sectors, especially those that are hard-to-electrify or expensive-to-electrify.
The development of businesses in emerging technologies such as hydrogen and carbon capture use and storage (CCUS) is an integral part of bp's strategy of transforming to an integrated energy company.
Both firms intend to focus on maximising the efficiency of the project’s electrolysis system, including assessing sustainable uses for the main by-products of the process, primarily oxygen and low-grade excess heat.
The project is also intended to support a longer-term ambition to build more than 500MW of renewable-powered electrolysis capacity at Lingen. This could provide green hydrogen to both meet all the refinery’s hydrogen demand and provide feedstock for potential future synthetic fuel production.
bp and Ørsted have together applied for funding for the Lingen Green Hydrogen project from the EU Innovation Fund – one of the largest funding programmes for innovative low carbon technologies, focusing particularly on energy intensive industries.
The Lingen Refinery processes about five million tonnes of crude oil a year (c 100,000 barrels a day), producing fuels, heating oil and chemical feedstocks. In 2018 Lingen conducted the world’s first trial of green hydrogen in a fuels refinery.
Earlier this year, bp announced its ambition to become a net zero emissions company by 2050. In September, bp and Microsoft agreed to collaborate as strategic partners to further digital transformation in energy systems and advance net zero carbon goals of both companies.
Form Energy receives funding power for iron-air batteries
Form Energy believes it has cracked the conundrum of commercialising grid storage through iron-air batteries - and some of the biggest names in industry are backing its potential.
The startup recently announced the battery chemistry of its first commercial product and a $200 million Series D financing round led by ArcelorMittal’s XCarb innovation fund. Founded in 2017, Form Energy is backed by investors Eni Next LLC, MIT’s The Engine, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Prelude Ventures, Capricorn Investment Group and Macquarie Capital.
While solar and wind resources are the lowest marginal cost sources of electricity, the grid faces a challenge: how to manage the multi-day variability of renewable energy, even in periods of multi-day weather events, without sacrificing energy reliability or affordability.
Moreover, while Lithium-ion batteries are well suited to fast bursts of energy production, they run out of energy after just a few hours. Iron-air batteries, however, are predicted to have theoretical energy densities of more than 1,200 Wh/kg according to Renaissance of the iron-air battery (phys.org)
The active components of Form Energy's iron-air battery system are some of the cheapest, and most abundant materials: iron, water, and air. Iron-air batteries are the best solution to balance the multi-day variability of renewable energy due to their extremely low cost, safety, durability, and global scalability.
It claims its first commercial product is a rechargeable iron-air battery capable of delivering electricity for 100 hours at system costs competitive with conventional power plants and at less than 1/10th the cost of lithium-ion and can be optimised to store electricity for 100 hours at system costs competitive with legacy power plants.
"This product is our first step to tackling the biggest barrier to deep decarbonisation: making renewable energy available when and where it’s needed, even during multiple days of extreme weather, grid outages, or periods of low renewable generation," it states.
Mateo Jaramillo, CEO and Co-founder of Form Energy, said it conducted a broad review of available technologies and has reinvented the iron-air battery to optimise it for multi-day energy storage for the electric grid. "With this technology, we are tackling the biggest barrier to deep decarbonization: making renewable energy available when and where it’s needed, even during multiple days of extreme weather or grid outages," he said.
Form Energy and ArcelorMittal are working jointly on the development of iron materials which ArcelorMittal would non-exclusively supply for Form’s battery systems. Form Energy intends to source the iron domestically and manufacture the battery systems near where they will be sited. Form Energy’s first project is with Minnesota-based utility Great River Energy, located near the heart of the American Iron Range.
Greg Ludkovsky, Global Head of Research and Development at ArcelorMittal, believes Form Energy is at the leading edge of developments in the long-duration, grid-scale battery storage space. "The multi-day energy storage technology they have developed holds exciting potential to overcome the issue of intermittent supply of renewable energy."
Investors in Form Energy's November 2020 round included Energy Impact Partners, NGP Energy Technology Partners III, and Temasek.
In May 2020, it signed a contract with Minnesota-based utility Great River Energy to jointly deploy a 1MW / 150MWh pilot project to be located in Cambridge, MN. Great River Energy is Minnesota's second-largest electric utility and the fifth largest generation and transmission cooperative in the US.
Last week Helena and Energy Vault announced a strategic partnership to identify additional opportunities for Energy Vault’s waste remediation technologies as the company begins deployment of its energy storage system worldwide. It received new investment from Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures (SAEV) in June.
Maoneng has revealed more details of its proposed 240MWp / 480MWh Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula in Australia (click here).
The BESS represents hundreds of millions of dollars of investment that will improve electricity grid reliability and network stability by drawing energy from the grid during off-peak periods for battery storage, and dispatching energy to the grid during peak periods.