August 2 (Renewables Now) - Europe, which is desperately trying to get away from Russian natural gas and achieve energy independence, is unlikely to reach its carbon reduction targets without relying on hydrogen, especially green hydrogen, according to one of the leaders in the sector.
“This is just not going to be possible,” says Andy Marsh, the president and CEO of sector major Plug Power Inc (NASDAQ:PLUG). Marsh spoke to Renewables Now about the industry and green hydrogen’s rapid growth, Plug’s strategy and targets, as well as offtake contracts and policy preferences.
EFFICIENCY IN DECARBONISATION
In May, Germany, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands pledged to reach at least 65 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030 and then more than double this to at least 150 GW by 2050.
“When you think about how you move wind power from Northern Denmark into Central Europe, hydrogen pipelines are the most effective way to do it. The cost is about 50% less to move the same level of energy,” Marsh said. He also believes that only hydrogen can reduce the carbon dioxide (CO2) footprint of both mobility and industrial applications, which are exactly the same.
When asked about his opinion on blue hydrogen in the context of Russia’s war in Ukraine, Marsh said he believes that this variation of the fuel still has a role to play, but added the following: “When I talk to sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East and I ask them the question why are they not investing in blue hydrogen, why are they investing in green hydrogen and green ammonia, the answer I always get is that once green hydrogen is cost-effective with blue hydrogen, which quite honestly today it is with the present price of natural gas, no one is going to want blue hydrogen. They are going to want green hydrogen.”
The war in Ukraine, he said, is accelerating the interest in and demand for hydrogen, and in Plug’s offerings for that matter. “We’ve seen that demand doubled since the war in Ukraine started.”
BUILDING A HYDROGEN LEADER FROM SCRATCH
Marsh has been leading Plug since April 2008, when the company’s business revolved around the sale of motive and backup power solutions as well as fuel cell systems. Today, Plug is a vertically integrated business that covers all aspects of the hydrogen value chain, from the development, manufacture and supply of fuel cell-based solutions and electrolysers, to the establishment of fuel station networks, to green hydrogen production.
Over the past three months, the company booked the world’s largest electrolyser supply contract in Denmark, signed a 30-year concession deal to deploy a 100-MW electrolyser at the Port of Antwerp-Bruges in Belgium and joined an industrial consortium to build the first green iron plant in France. In the US, the company is working to establish a nationwide network of plants with a green hydrogen production capacity of 500 tonnes per day.
“We have plants in Georgia under construction, plants in New York, we have plants in Texas, so, lots of constructions going on for Plug at the moment and we’ve set a public target of having 70 tonnes available by year-end,” Marsh noted.
The interview continues in PART 2.