• Clayton Mathias

Distributed Hydrogen: When you need it, where you need it.

Updated: Nov 3, 2020

As the demand for green hydrogen continues to increase, it is being produced in smaller units, when it is needed and where it is needed; this is referred to as Distributed Hydrogen Production. This growing trend is contrary to the historic centralized merchant producer model, who’s operations are focused where large hydrogen users, such as petroleum refineries and chemical plants are concentrated, like ports. With distributed production, smaller localized consumers benefit from hydrogen energy and the products it is used in, such as alternative fuels, fertilizers and mobility solutions – not to mention the decarbonization benefit.

Greenbox’s definition of distributed production is not just production, it includes bringing green hydrogen to any customer at a competitive price. This is why our team is focused every day, on de-risking the distributed energy model. We do this by leveraging our extensive energy operations expertise, and network of private sector, technology and research partnerships throughout Europe.

Modular, scalable, and optimizable hydrogen production equipment, that can be coupled with legacy or greenfield renewable energy sources (RES) such as wind and solar, is the key to unlocking the distributed production model. In order to easily assess infrastructure requirements for a given opportunity, Greenbox has developed models that calculate energy and equipment requirements for hydrogen production, by coupling developments with existing solar, wind and bio-energy systems. Where there is no legacy RES, our models estimate the size, capital and project requirements under various RES development metrics. These models steer optimal capital deployment to generate production at any point on the map.

Beyond confident assessments of green hydrogen production, we draw from our mobility and transport expertise, to further understand the cost of distribution from plant to point of use. Greenbox’s on the ground operational work, drives our success in proving the value of distributed hydrogen, that incorporates scalability to capture demand growth. An example of the heightened interest in distributed production, is the ViridisH2 Project in the Südniedersachsen region of Germany, where a consortium of industry, research, technology and public stakeholders are studying the development of a green, decentralized hydrogen economy. Greenbox is excited to have its strategic partner ELO Mobility GmbH involved in the ViridisH2 Project.

We all want to see green hydrogen produced from electrolysis at a cost which is comparable to fossil fuel derived hydrogen. Greenbox is working to develop small scale 2 to 5 MW hydrogen production plants at a cost of 3,50 to 5,00/kg, depending on the type of RES and electrolysis technology deployed. Within Germany, utilizing compressed gas trucking solutions, the cost of hydrogen distribution to point of consumption is already competitive, and ranges anywhere from less than €1,00/kg for short-haul delivery, up to €2,00/kg for moderate distance delivery. We see a huge value statement for industry and consumers, in electing to transition towards locally produced green hydrogen, and that is exactly why Greenbox is in the game to deliver it.

We're always happy to share our thoughts; if you'd like to get in touch with us about the content of this article, feel free to reach out to the author, Clayton Mathias at cm@greenbox.global.

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