Carbon-free Hydrogen in Finnmark

Wind Park HydrogenThe Wind Park at Raggovidda in Berlevåg. Photo: Varanger Kraft

Carbon-free Hydrogen to be produced in Berlevåg, Finnmark

Varanger Kraft will produce affordable carbon-dioxide free hydrogen from wind power in Finnmark. The electricity that cannot be sent southwards due to the low capacity of the electricity grid.

Varanger Kraft says that they are now setting up their own dedicated hydrogen company. They will utilise renewable power from Raggovidda wind farm to produce carbon-free hydrogen at competitive prices.

Raggovidda wind farm is located in Finnmark. It is limited how much of the electricity can be exported southwards, due to lack of capacity in the electricity grid.

“How crucial is the lack of capacity in the electricity grid, as Varanger Kraft is now so aggressively investing in hydrogen with its own company?”

“This was crucial for us to start investigations in the direction of hydrogen. We saw the potential of hydrogen production in itself – and wanted to invest in this,” General Manager of the budding company, Varanger KraftHydrogen, Christian Bue, answers enerWE.

Civil Engineer Bue has a background from Equinor (Statoil) and has worked with the hydrogen investment for Varanger Kraft since he joined the group of companies.

He is nevertheless clear on that Finnmark still needs a proper power connection so that the electricity produced in Norway’s largest, but – least populated county – can deliver cheap wind power to the rest of Norway.

“We, nevertheless, hope that a 420-kiloVolt line will come to Varanger,” Bue states.

Hydrogen is pointed to as an important solution to reducing global climate emissions, and Varanger Kraft believes that they are already well advanced in the development work in hydrogen. Now they have set an ambitious goal for the start-up year.

Production starts in 2019

«Our goal is that Varanger KraftHydrogen is Norway’s largest producer of CO2-free hydrogen at the end of 2019,» the company writes in a press release.

Varanger Kraft joined the EU project Haeolus in 2018. The project is a part of the Horizon 2020 program of the EU, which aims to reduce climate emissions. In the Haeolus project, wind power must be connected with hydrogen production, via electrolysis of water. The energy product that results from this process is 100% «CO2-free» hydrogen, with water vapour as the only discharge when used in fuel cells and the like.

Raggovidda wind park is located in Berlevåg municipality in Finnmark. Here is one of Europe’s best wind conditions, but the power cables going south have to small capacity for them to fully utilise the wind farm’s capacity. Thus, they can not sell all the wind power produced. This means that residents further south in Norway do not enjoy cheap electricity from a wind turbine that has one of the world’s most favourable wind conditions.

Varanger Kraft claims that Raggovidda, with 50 per cent utilisation of its full capacity over a year, is Norway’s most efficient wind farm.

Affordable

When enerWE asks how important the unused surplus capacity is, to be able to offer an affordable hydrogen product, Bue confirms the expected answer.

“To a large extent, yes. The cheapest way to produce hydrogen is using electricity that can’t go onto the grid,” Bue confirms.

He believes that they will eventually be able to deliver hydrogen at a competitive price even after the electricity grid is upgraded.

“Preliminary analyses show that the production cost could come down to a competitive level in the long run, even though we connect to the electricity grid. The Haeolus project is an important step along the way. We have a lot to learn about equipment, production and cost drivers,” Bue concludes.

The building of the wind park at Raggovidda


© enerWe / #Norway Today



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