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Daniel Williams
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There have been a few articles published in the last few days regarding the cost of hydrogen produced from renewable energy. carbonbrief .org/renewable-hydrogen-already-cost-competative-say-researchers The report argues that the cost of hydrogen is already competitive with hydrogen from fossil gas via SMR (reformed methane) in Germany and Texas, where the cost of delivery of SMR-hydrogen allows on-site production to be competitive. By 2030, hydrogen via electrolysis is very likely to be cheaper than natural gas in many markets globally. In fact, hydrogen is cheaper than natural gas in Australia as well, and all gas turbines in Europe are being refitted to accept hydrogen by 2030. There are a few plans for 100MW PtG facilities in the Netherlands and Germany; with one project planning 900MW between 2026-2030. However, despite the low cost of hydrogen from renewables, there will still be a large gap between how many turbines and solar panels can realistically be built before 2050, and how much hydrogen is required to replace gas. For this reason, hydrogen via SMR will also have to be used, and the resultant CO2 piped back underground.
This is great news. Yet more proof that hydrogen can be produced via electrolysis at a cost similar to or cheaper than natural gas. There is now almost 2GW of power-to-gas in planning in Europe now, including a recent call by Siemens Shell and Tennet for 900MW of electrolysis linked to offshore wind between 2026-2030. Unfortunately there is no way that the world can build enough renewables to power the electrolysis to replace natural gas between now and 2050. And so CCS is starting to scale up - because ultimately the cheapest way to do this is to site reformers at the point where gas enters the gas network, and have all users of the gas network using decarbonised gas. And the cost increase for the end-user for conversion is only 7% as per the H21 North of England initiative. All EU gas turbines will be hydrogen-compatible by 2030.
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Feb 2, 2019