Denmark’s Energy Metropolis of Esbjerg welcomes several Power-to-X facilities producing hydrogen, and exciting prospects have emerged as excess heat from the production can be used for residential heating. Mayor Jesper Frost Rasmussen welcomes the new possibilities.
By Jesper Frost Rasmussen
In Esbjerg, the energy transition is very apparent. At the Port of Esbjerg, rows upon rows of towers for offshore wind turbines wait to be shipped. More than 4.000 offshore wind turbines have passed through Esbjerg, and the port has played a key role in the installation of offshore wind in Denmark as well as other European countries.
Simultaneously, the municipality of Esbjerg has very ambitious goals to become carbon neutral by 2030. This can only be achieved through strong alliances with partners, which commit to this goal. Fortunately, both the Port of Esbjerg and the utility company, DIN Forsyning, have entered into a climate-partnership with the municipality in order to achieve the zero-emission goal.
These are exciting times, not least because DIN Forsyning is constructing the district heating system for the future by implementing a hybrid modular solution. By creating sector coupling to existing and future business sectors DIN Forsyning and district heating plays a key role in supporting the city’s development. There is no doubt, that the district heating system is at the core of our green transition, and new solutions opens new doors which potentially could help us on the journey to carbon-neutrality.
But let’s just zoom in on the large wind turbines. At sea, they produce renewable energy, and on shore several new power-to-x companies are interested in using the electricity. No fewer than three power-to-x facilities will be built in Esbjerg, and more could be on the way. Esbjerg’s location and infrastructure as well as our commitment to energy transition attracts companies dedicated to the green transition and the possibilities this creates.
Two of the power-to-x companies will turn electricity into hydrogen. Hydrogen is an important energy source, and its potential must be applied in the right manner for us to harvest the benefits. In the future, the power-to-hydrogen facilities could play an important role as an integral part of the energy production of the future. By using green renewable energy to produce hydrogen, companies have a product which can be stored and, in the future, hydrogen from Esbjerg will be used as fuel in trucks and other heavy land-based transport.
The process of converting power to hydrogen produces a lot of excess heat, and this heat could be used by the district heating system. Technically, we are at a point where it is possible to recover waste heat from hydrogen production without negatively impacting the production, and it is also economically attractive. With flexible and intelligent district heating, this may be an integral part of the business model, which the power-to-x companies rely on.
Combined heat and hydrogen solutions stand as the most viable answer. Especially if it is possible to locate hydrogen production facilities in connection with district heating network developments near cities, and as a municipality we can influence these decisions.
It is obvious, that this also improves the financial side of these projects, and the surplus heat is very much in demand due to the international political climate. It makes perfect sense to develop these innovative solutions, and it is in fact what future generations will demand of us. That we design the most energy efficient solutions in order to reduce the impact on the climate and the environment.