Orsted has taken a final investment decision on its maiden renewable hydrogen project, H2RES, marking the company’s first step towards production of the carbon-free fuel.

The two megawatt (MW) demonstration project is based at Avedøre Holme in Copenhagen, Denmark, and will be capable of producing 1,000kg of “green” hydrogen daily from electricity generated by offshore wind.

The Danish wind specialist expects production to commence in late 2021, and the fuel will be used to supply road transport operations in Greater Copenhagen and the island of Zealand.

Renewable hydrogen has been backed as an increasingly-viable alternative to petroleum-based fuels that can help to decarbonise hard-to-abate sectors such as heavy industry and transport, where direct electrification can be challenging.

Martin Neubert, executive vice president and CEO of Orsted Offshore, said: “We see renewable hydrogen and other sustainable fuels as cornerstones in reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, and H2RES will contribute with key learnings to turn Europe’s ambitious build-out targets for renewable hydrogen into a new industrial success story.

“With the right framework in place that incentivises the shift away from fossil fuels, renewable hydrogen can decarbonise transport and heavy industry, which is paramount to creating a world that runs entirely on green energy.”


Orsted hopes H2RES will be a platform for larger-scale green hydrogen deployment

While much has been discussed about the potential of green hydrogen – produced via electrolysis of water using exclusively renewable energy sources – it remains a nascent industry that requires further policy and investment support to achieve the scale that will lower the costs of production.

Several initiatives with this goal are now underway, including the UN-backed Green Hydrogen Catapult, of which Orsted is a member.

The Danish wind company also recently announced it had secured EU funding to trial technology capable of integrating the electrolysis process into offshore turbines, meaning the fuel could be produced directly at offshore wind sites, rather than at a separate production facility on land.

The H2RES project will investigate how to best combine an electrolyser with the fluctuating power supply from offshore wind, using two 3.6MW offshore wind turbines at Avedøre Holme.

It is a “small but important step” towards large-scale production of green hydrogen in Denmark, said Orsted’s head of hydrogen Anders Nordstrøm, offering a demonstration of how offshore wind combined with onshore electrolysis can offer decarbonisation beyond direct electrification.

“Renewable hydrogen will be a cornerstone in achieving Denmark’s ambitious decarbonisation target,” he added. “H2RES is an example of how public co-funding coupled with a committed hydrogen industry and ambitious offtakers can drive the decarbonisation of the transport sector.”

The project has previously received 34.6 million Danish Krone ($5.6m) in government funding, through the Danish Energy Agency’s Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Programme (EUDP).