At this moment people have a lot of thoughts when it comes to hydrogen, but they probably do not think of generating it in a wind turbine. Even though precisely this generation in the turbine itself offers so many benefits and is able to reinforce the energy system in several areas. Our aim is to convert as many wind turbines as possible to ‘hydrogen turbines’, or build them as hydrogen turbines from the start in order to make the energy system of the Netherlands robust and future-proof. See how the hydrogen turbine works.
Hydrogen plays an important role in the system. As an energy carrier, hydrogen offers flexibility due to the different application possibilities. It links different markets. For example, it links (offshore) wind farms to mobility as well as to the built environment. It is a sustainable alternative for carbon containing energy carriers, such as diesel in trucks, ships and trains where battery electric solutions are inadequate. Hydrogen is suitable for large-scale storage in order to provide a buffer for the summer/winter fluctuations in demand and supply. Recently it was confirmed that with some adaptations, hydrogen could make use of large sections of the current natural gas infrastructure in the Netherlands. The current gas infrastructure in the Netherlands transports a lot more energy than the current electricity grid.
Study W2H2 showed that hydrogen from offshore wind is a competitive alternative for diesel. Hydrogen produced by means of water electrolysis, integrated in an offshore wind turbine and then brought ashore via a pipe line, could compete with the deployment of diesel as fuel. The ‘levelised cost of energy (LCoE)’ per GJ of hydrogen is similar to the costs of bringing electricity from an offshore wind turbine on shore. The higher generation costs of hydrogen are offset by the fact that the transport of gas per unit of energy is much less expensive than the transport of electricity.
In addition, a hydrogen pipe line infrastructure is able to serve as storage. The further away offshore, or the larger the transport and distribution network onshore, the lower the need for extra storage to be able to compensate fluctuations between demand and supply.
Integration of the electrolysis process in a wind turbine prevents electrical conversion and transport losses between the wind turbine generator and the onshore landing point. Integration also offers an opportunity to increase the efficiency of the electrolysis process. Due to the integration, new points of departure are created for the optimisation of wind turbines and the wind farm as a whole.
What is stated above ensures that the cost price per GJ is similar to the electrical equivalent and that the amount of energy (GJ) brought on shore is similar. The production costs of hydrogen directly in the turbine are many times lower than the production of hydrogen in a separate electrolysis process connected to the electrical infrastructure.