How do you approach the challenge of when and where to build the energy infrastructure for hydrogen?
Stine Grenaa Jensen: “It is a chicken and egg problem we have to solve, and the main reason is that we are talking about huge investments. Not only in infrastructure, wind turbines and solar farms, but also if you want to refine the hydrogen for other products like ammonia or methanol. So the amount of investments going into these large-scale projects automatically gives a chicken and egg problem we have to solve. It’s not impossible, but it requires all the different parts of the value chain come together and find out how to not only time the investment but also talk about what the demand for infrastructure is in the specific cases.
“Because it is rather different things whether you go for onshore wind turbines, solar farms and then local methanol production, or if you are looking into large scale offshore wind turbines and then export of hydrogen. It requires very different combinations of not only hydrogen infrastructure, but also the electricity infrastructure.”
Hydrogen can be used for many different things – from aviation fuel to energy-intensive industries. To what extent will the need for infrastructure change based on what the hydrogen is used for?
“The main resource and input for the Power-to-X value chain comes from a lot of renewable energy. So then the question becomes how to use this renewable energy, not just for consumption, but also in order to support the green transition. And this is more about that we go first for direct electrification – in the sectors where we can do that – and then the second is energy savings, which is more and more discussed at the moment with the energy crisis. And then afterwards it is a matter of trying to convert electricity to other types of molecules that can enable a green transition. For Energinet it is not ‘either-or’, it is a variety of different possibilities to decarbonise different sectors, and we have to support all the different value chains.”
“So from our perspective, it is not a matter of should it be used for aviation fuel, ammonia, or directly as hydrogen. All of those will come into play, because the renewable energy we have available in a Danish context is actually quite huge. So in order to utilise the potential, we have to look into all the different ways.
“If we go directly to what we are core responsible for, which is building the infrastructure, it is important for us to look into the possibility of saving investments in electricity grids by building hydrogen grids and in that way find out how they can support each other, rather than just building for two separate value chains.”