Green hydrogen & Power-to-X
Meeting global climate targets and transitioning to a low-carbon economy requires scaling up technologies for industries that are hard-to-decarbonise, from shipping to steel manufacturing. Our unparalleled experience from over 70 green hydrogen and Power-to-X projects since 2020 ensures we develop and deliver solutions with confidence for our clients.
"We bring expertise across the full spectrum of energy solutions; electrolysis, fuel cells, hydrogen, biogas, renewables and more – meaning we bring excellence in the integration of complex systems and can care for the entire solution."
Anders Nimgaard Schultz, Director, Power-to-X and Gas Infrastructure
Expertise for full-spectrum energy solutions
Analysts estimate green hydrogen may supply up to 24% of global energy demands by 2050. As the energy sector seeks to scale green hydrogen and Power-to-X, greater certainty is needed in energy policy, improved economic incentives, economies of scale, and clarity on the complexities of integrating these technologies.
What’s clear is the commercial potential and ability of green hydrogen and Power-to-X to decarbonise critical sectors of the economy such as heavy-duty transportation, shipping, aviation, and energy-intensive industries like chemicals, concrete and steel.
At the forefront of the green energy transition and a leader in Power-to-X, Ramboll has the skills, experience, and commitment to explore options and bring economic and technical certainty to solutions. We are consulting on some of Europe’s largest Power-to-X facilities, on innovative hydrogen storage, on large scale carbon capture solutions, and on the world’s first artificial energy island.
Supporting the whole value chain, from investors to developers
The switch to green hydrogen, electrofuels and Power-to-X technologies is underway and will dominate from 2030 and onwards. We are supporting governments, energy companies, infrastructure owners and developers, investors and end users alike and are experienced in public and private collaborations. Our team includes some of world’s most experienced Power-to-X experts who work closely with our clients to confidently develop Power-to-X and green hydrogen solutions.
Your partner through all project stages
Our cross-disciplinary capabilities and unmatched position in renewables and experience in Power-to-X mean we can partner with our clients through all stages of a project. We provide support ranging from front-end technical, economic and environmental feasibility assessments, regulatory impacts and approvals and project finance advice, through to engineering design, system integration and project and construction management.
Areas of expertise
- Renewable energy generation facilities - wind, solar PV, biomass, and waste
- Environmental feasibility and impact assessment
- Carbon capture, utilisation, and storage
- Synthesis of renewable fuels
- Hydrogen pipelines, compressors, and storage
- Water treatment
- Sector coupling
We bring together the world’s brightest minds to solve some of the toughest challenges. We are open and curious, and bring a mindset to look for new and different perspectives. Together we deliver value for clients and create sustainable change for society.
Explainer: Quick facts
What is green hydrogen and Power-to-X?Hydrogen is one of the most abundant elements in the universe. Green hydrogen is produced using renewable energy – for example from offshore wind farms – to split water into hydrogen and oxygen without producing greenhouse gas emissions. Green hydrogen can either be used directly or synthesised using chemical processes into other fuels such as methane, methanol, and ammonia. The use of electricity from renewable energy sources to produce green hydrogen or synthetic fuels is defined as Power-to-X
How does Power-to-X work?The central technology behind Power-to-X is electrolysis, whereby electricity is used to split water into its constituent parts: oxygen and hydrogen.
There are a number of competing electrolyser technologies, of which the most prominent are alkaline electrolysis (AEL), polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) and solid oxide electrolysers (SOEC).
Common to all three approaches is that they work by adding electrical current to a positive and negative electrode – also known as an anode and cathode – which are submerged in an electrolyte (a substance that conducts electricity) and separated by a membrane. When powered, the anode attracts negatively charged ions, known as anions, and the cathode attracts positively charged particles, known as cations. This causes a reaction, which produces hydrogen at the cathode and oxygen at the anode.
Together, the anode and cathode form an electrolyser cell. When several are interconnected, we call it an electrolyser stack.
Electrolysis was first discovered in the year 1800, so it is by no means a new invention. But electrolysis is very energy-intensive, and about 95% of all hydrogen is currently produced using fossil fuels. With the rapid expansion of renewable energy, however, green hydrogen is fast becoming a real alternative.
What are the different types of hydrogen?Hydrogen is the most abundant, simplest and lightest element in the universe, consisting of just one proton and one electron.
We use colours to distinguish between different methods of producing hydrogen: green hydrogen is made entirely from renewable energy sources like solar and wind, and blue hydrogen is made from fossil fuels, typically natural gas, from which the carbon is captured and stored. Grey hydrogen, which remains the most common form of hydrogen production, is made using fossil fuels where the carbon is not captured.
In addition there is black or brown hydrogen, made from coal, pink hydrogen, made from nuclear energy, and turquoise hydrogen, made from methane pyrolysis. But while the CO2 emissions vary greatly depending on the production method, at the molecular level there is no difference between a ‘grey’ hydrogen molecule and a ‘green’ one.
Who are users of green hydrogen and Power-to-X solutions?Where direct electrification is possible, it remains a more cost-effective decarbonisation solution than hydrogen. For instance, the Danish Energy Agency estimates that when wind energy is used to power an electric vehicle, 30% of the energy is lost. For a hydrogen-powered vehicle, however, that number jumps to 70%.
This means hydrogen and Power-to-X solutions are most relevant in sectors and industries that are difficult or currently impossible to electrify. These include long-haul trucking, shipping, aviation, as well as industrial manufacturing, green heating, and agriculture.
What is an energy island?In June 2020, the Danish Government announced plans to establish the world’s two first energy islands. The largest of these will be an artificial island, located in the Danish North Sea, and will act as a hub for nearby wind farms. The energy produced by the wind farms is gathered on the energy island and distributed to consumers, either directly via undersea cables, or by transforming the energy into green hydrogen through Power-to-X facilities located on the island.
Placing the energy islands at sea has several advantages – for instance enabling wind farms to be erected further from shore and strengthening energy networks between neighbouring countries. This could help ensure less renewable energy is wasted, by avoiding situations where there is more wind energy available than any one country is able to consume.
What is carbon capture and storage?Climate change is caused by emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. One way to reduce these emissions is by capturing the carbon that is emitted and storing it safely. There are two main forms of carbon capture: direct air capture (DAC), which sucks carbon molecules directly from the air, and point source capture, which captures carbon at specific, highly emitting sources such as fossil fuel power plants.
Once the carbon is captured it can either be used, for instance to produce electrofuels such as methane or methanol, or stored underground. The umbrella term for these dual uses is carbon capture utilisation and storage, or CCUS.
Why do we need to decarbonise hard-to-abate sectors?Today, 83% of global energy demand comes from fossil fuels which contribute about 75% of global carbon emissions. A key lever to decarbonise energy production and consumption is to replace fossil-based energy such as oil, gas, and coal, with renewable energy including wind, solar, hydropower and biomass. Today, energy from newly built wind and solar farms is cheaper than energy from fossil fuels power plants in more than two-thirds of the world’s countries, according to research institute BloomberNEF.
Yet, in some sectors, such as shipping and aviation, there are still too few viable alternatives to fossil fuels. Hard-to-abate sectors contribute nearly one-third of global carbon emissions, according to the think tank Energy Transitions Commission. Direct electrification with green power is technologically complex or not yet commercially viable. Green hydrogen and Power-to-X hold the key to decarbonise these sectors.
Anders Nimgaard Schultz
Director, Power-to-X and Gas InfrastructureT: +45 5161 3395
How can we help achieve your ambitions in green hydrogen and Power-to-X?
Please get in touch with us.