Tasks in definition
Importance of the topic
For hydrogen to play a key role in the achievement of climate neutrality, its production will have to be fully decarbonized and the global production capacity increased by orders of magnitude compared to the current levels. Renewable-powered water electrolysis is currently the most mature approach to green hydrogen production and a significant increase in the deployment of this technology is envisaged within the next 10 years worldwide. However, there are several alternative processes to produce hydrogen from different combinations of renewable energy sources and feedstocks, which could complement electrolysis to achieve higher production capacities in a future flexible and resilient energy system. Networking and collaboration between worldwide experts on these processes will foster the advancement of their technology readiness level and the development of a shared approach for their technological assessment, which will help to fully understand the potential and issues of each option.
Alignment with the Strategic Plan
The task is fully aligned with the priorities set for the collaborative RD&D theme of the strategic plan 2020-2025. Furthermore, the development of alternative pathways to green hydrogen production based on different renewable sources/feedstocks allows to fully exploit the flexibility of hydrogen as a renewable energy carrier, thus consolidating its role as a link between different energy networks and contributing to the achievement of energy security objectives.
The task mostly aims at monitoring the evolution and supporting the visibility of alternative green hydrogen production technologies as well as developing a framework for their technological assessment.
Also, if you are aware of other initiatives (past/ongoing/planned) whose scope and results partially or substantially overlap with those of this Task in Definition, please fill this form so it is taken into account during the definition process working for maximum synergy and minimum overlapping.
Offshore Hydrogen Production
Importance of the topic
Renewable hydrogen (H2) is considered a disruptive innovation within the global Energy Transition – and a game-changer identified as a strong alternative to fossil fuels.
That is due to its extreme versatility as it can be stored in either gas or liquid forms, or be converted into an electric current to be used as a transportation clean fuel when needed. The envisaged global large-scale renewable H2 production calls on the one hand for state of art production technology i.e. water electrolysis, and on the other for large-scale integration of renewable energy sources, located alongside onshore as well as offshore areas, as is the case with wind energy for Power-to-X purposes.
In such energy integration settings, the offshore hydrogen production (OHP) enables a powerful match with offshore wind turbine projects where there is a significant potential to improve the economics of renewable Hydrogen production and deployment to different end-use sectors – replacing fossil fuels and H2-based commodities for Industry.
Goals and structure
The main objective of the OHP Task is to structure a systemic and sustainable approach to offshore renewable hydrogen production enabling it to provide an international R&I collaboration platform as well as to produce recommendations and guidance to related decision-making processes.
Currently in a draft stage, the OHP Task’s structure will consist of complementary building blocks, from the technologic landscape on H2 production, wind generation, and respective operational conditions and maintenance, to the strategic planning of value chains, business models, costs, markets and trading, cross cutting-issues and road mapping.
Importance of the topic
Natural Hydrogen is a reality and it’s not rare.
The Earth is producing constantly natural hydrogen by several reactions linked to oxidation of Fe(II)-minerals, degassing of magma, or radiolysis of water. Seepages of hydrogen are known both on continents and off-shore (mid-oceanic ridges). One exhaustive review shows H2 occurrences in 465 geo-references (Zgonnik, 2020)
Some examples of this are the Bourakebougou site in Mali that has twelve positives boreholes with pure hydrogen (98%) for a surface of 50 km2 (Prinzhofer et al, 2018) and geothermal power plants in Iceland that emit to the atmosphere a total of 1.2 kt H2 per year (Combaudon et al, 2022).
Benefits of Natural Hydrogen include:
- It’s clean: There’s no carbon in the chain, no need for electricity, or water and has a low physical footprint at production sites. Its flow is steady and avoids intermittence of supply.
- It’s not an energy vector, but a resource in itself.
- New research targeting a range of countries across the world – plus discoveries in US and Mali – suggest there are multiple viable plays and a cost-effective exploitable resource.
- Provides diversity and flexibility and complements other renewable hydrogen feedstocks and aid security of energy supply.
- No need for purified water (as electrolytic hydrogen), CO2 or nuclear-waste disposal (as some low-C hydrogen alternatives).
- Costs should be substantially lower than all other forms of proposed H2 production and will deploy over a century of know-how, technology and skills from associated industries.
- An intrinsically very low carbon footprint minimises investment risk and ensures long-term EU Taxonomy compliance.
- Bibliographic synthesis / state of the art (Science / web / pro-journals). Deliverable: position paper of about 20 pages
- Road map production=> Development of this new economic sector,
- Needs of public support in research and pilots
- Development of Reserves Economic Evaluation
- Policy recommendation for Research & Development and Methods for adapting national mining codes.
- Environmental impacts of Natural H2
- Organization of Events
Gaucher, E.C. (2020) New perspectives in the industrial exploration for native hydrogen. Elements 16, 8-9. http://elementsmagazine.org/2020/02/01/new-perspectives-in-the-industrial-exploration-for-native-hydrogen/
Hand E. (2023) Science VOL 379 ISSUE 6633 https://www.science.org/content/article/hidden-hydrogen-earth-may-hold-vast-stores-renewable-carbon-free-fuel