How Many Dangerous Assumptions Can One Offshore Hydrogen Report Make?

How Many Dangerous Assumptions Can One Offshore Hydrogen Report Make?

European Coverage Makers Giving Too A lot Credence To DNV Offshore Hydrogen Report

Just a few days in the past, I dug by way of a DNV report on manufacturing offshore hydrogen with electrical energy from offshore wind farms. The fundamental conclusion was embodied within the headline: “Offshore Hydrogen Would Be 10x Value Of Already Costly LNG, But Europe Is Critical About It.” The €3.21 per kilogram of inexperienced offshore hydrogen the report got here up with because it’s least expensive state of affairs already made the report’s conclusions nonsensical, but it surely’s attention-grabbing to have a look at the eccentricities in assumptions that led to offshore being least expensive.

Within the unique article, I famous a few of the assumptions it made, and that led me to considering extra in regards to the desk of metrics it used to make the daring declare that offshore manufacturing of hydrogen could be the most affordable type of inexperienced hydrogen sooner or later and that Europe ought to lean closely into it. These assumptions included hydrogen being a major service of vitality as an alternative of an industrial feedstock, the resultant use of MWh and GWh because the items for hydrogen, seven to 12 occasions the requirement for hydrogen when main demand areas are going to shrink, and the odd assertion that transferring molecules by way of pipelines was extra environment friendly than transferring electrons by way of HVDC.

That final one was attention-grabbing, as HVDC losses over 1,000 km are within the vary of three% to three.5%, however the report within the appendices on web page 68 signifies losses of 6.5% over 150 km for that type of transmission between the road and the conversion stations. That’s fairly terribly completely different from what the transmission trade sees. In contrast, they declare that whole losses of the pipeline and compressors for hydrogen is just one.5%. And apparently this odd mismatch is a giant issue.

“That is primarily because of the extra compact nature of pipelines in comparison with cables and the upper effectivity of offshore electrolysis, on condition that much less electrical energy shall be misplaced in transit as lengthy distance electrical energy cables won’t must be used.”

On condition that the first authors are oil and fuel and hydrogen varieties, maybe they’ve only a little bit of vested curiosity in eking out each benefit for his or her most well-liked know-how and a little bit of a problem with HVDC, which is after all the brand new pipeline.

Additionally they declare that pipelines — you realize, these massive honking metal tubes with concrete footings each few yards — require much less area than HVDC cables. This seems to be just like the odd claims of the nuclear trade that area necessities are an enormous issue. They appear to suppose {that electrical} substations are large and pipelines touchdown areas are small, when in actuality, they’re each fairly small.

However feedback in subsequent days acquired me fascinated by a few of the different assumptions on web page 68. One was that underwater pipelines value much less to construct and function than HVDC traces on a per kilometer per MW of capability foundation. How less expensive? Properly, within the DNV report world, the capital value per MW of capability per kilometer for an underwater hydrogen pipeline — and as a reminder, underwater hydrogen pipelines don’t exist, and hydrogen pipelines barely exist — are €500 to €615 , whereas HVDC is €800. Then the HVDC conversion stations value €885,000 per MW whereas the hydrogen compression solely prices €15,000 per MW.

Then there’s the operational expense. Do you know it’s far more costly to function HVDC cables that simply sit there with no transferring components and really restricted inspection necessities versus pipelines with plenty of transferring components within the compressors, pipeline inspection pigs, and exterior inspection necessities? That appears fairly odd, but they peg whole HVDC operational bills at 6.8% of capital prices per yr, whereas the pipeline’s equal whole is just 5.5% together with the offshore platform. And bear in mind, as a result of they’ve pegged the HVDC prices a lot greater, the additional 1.3% of working expense is way larger than that too.

As a reminder from the earlier article, they make no reference to staffing within the report. Maybe it’s subsumed within the operational bills. An offshore platform with desalination, electrolysis, compression, and a bunch of different elements is an industrial scale chemical manufacturing facility requiring a 24/7/365 employees. An offshore wind farm with HVDC connections to shore requires no everlasting offshore employees. But in some way DNV numbers come out in favor of an enormous, staffed industrial facility 100 km from shore.

Is that this true? It’s arduous to say. Like all numbers on web page 68, they supply no reference to sources that arrive at these numbers. I used to be unable, after a few hours of Googling references, to validate them. The one exterior paper they cite, the DNV Energy Transition Outlook, accommodates precisely none of those numbers. I do know, I went and regarded. The numbers arrived at web page 68 as if plucked from the ether to offer, barely, the outstanding complexity of producing hydrogen offshore being the most affordable type of inexperienced hydrogen.

The rest price noting in regards to the assumptions? Properly, they make the declare that onshore photo voltaic to hydrogen electrolysis is by far the most costly choice in each modeling state of affairs, with offshore wind to hydrogen offshore being the most affordable sooner or later. What would possibly they be basing this on? First, offshore wind capability components of 57% and a value per MWh of €32.12 in 2030, decrease than both onshore wind or photo voltaic.

Now, I like offshore wind vitality, don’t get me fallacious, and it does have excessive capability components. However the common for offshore wind is beneath 50%, and it’s tough to picture that will probably be cheaper per MWh than onshore wind and photo voltaic. But that’s the declare made within the report to assist justify making hydrogen 100+ kilometers from shore.

The rest startling in regards to the numbers? Sure, the 11% capability issue for onshore photo voltaic photovoltaic. That’s about proper for northern Europe, however on condition that the hydrogen or electrical energy is flowing south to massive inhabitants facilities, and photo voltaic photovoltaic might be constructed within the south close to electrolysis crops, it’s a giant a part of the issues with this report. Sure, the report artificially inflates onshore photo voltaic prices and deflates capability components in comparison with offshore wind.

This doesn’t imply that making hydrogen with solar energy shall be low cost, after all. However the report is basically sprucing each lever to make sure that the preordained conclusion is the one which’s delivered.

The lion’s share of the report, after the very odd manufacturing eventualities summaries, is in regards to the non-existent however closely hoped for by oil and fuel varieties European hydrogen spine of big pipelines touring hundreds of kilometers, carrying hydrogen into each industrial and transportation hub on the continent. Eight pages set the stage for the deeply unlikely large enhance in hydrogen demand. Eleven pages are adequate to dismiss all choices for manufacturing hydrogen besides offshore subsequent to offshore wind vitality. 5 pages make it clear how a lot hydrogen might be manufactured offshore, requiring large new pipelines.

After which nineteen pages are dedicated to the non-existent however shiny proposed hydrogen pipeline spine connecting Europe to new sources of molecules.

As I famous a yr in the past, claims of hydrogen pipelines being vastly cheaper per MW than HVDC are largely primarily based on dangerous system boundaries and horrible assumptions. Loads of that’s because of the biases of the folks doing the research, after all.

To that time:

“The examine has been carried out by DNV on behalf of GASCADE and Fluxys, a consortium of pipeline operators that intends to actively help Europe’s vitality transition and transfer in direction of higher vitality safety.”

So DNV, which as I famous within the first article usually does nice work, was employed by pipeline companies with greenback indicators dancing of their eyes to search out that pipelines for hydrogen have been clearly the perfect reply, and never just some pipelines, however prolonged pipelines from main our bodies of water throughout Europe. DNV put a bunch of oil, fuel, and hydrogen varieties on the job. Who would have thought {that a} report purchased and paid for by pipeline builders and operators, staffed with folks with a powerful bias towards molecules for vitality, would have discovered precisely what the patrons wished?

However who would have thought European politicians weren’t able to seeing by way of this? One assumes that they know precisely the provenance, however for causes of their very own, take into account it sufficiently credible.


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