Havvindmøller_Photo Torben Nielsen

Energy islands in 2030: Where do we place the P2X facilities?

Wednesday 23 Dec 20
by Rikke Høm Jensen


Marie Münster
DTU Management
+45 46 77 51 66


Nicolas Jean Bernard Campion
PhD Student
DTU Management


Matti Juhani Koivisto
Senior Researcher
DTU Wind
+45 93 51 17 62


Nicolaos A. Cutululis
DTU Wind
+45 21 32 49 65

Energy Islands are becoming a reality in 2030 due to the plan recently approved by the Danish Government. Considering this future massive production of electricity, the conversion of the latter into other energy carriers as P2X, will play a key role in efficiently integrating the Energy Islands into the Danish energy system. But where to place them? 

In December the Technical University of Denmark, Energy Cluster Denmark, Bornholms Energi & Forsyning, Rønne Havn and Energy Modelling Lab launched a new white paper, titled “Optimal Placement of P2X Facility in Conjunction with Bornholm Energy Island - Preliminary Overview for an Immediate Decarbonisation of Maritime Transport”, following a live webinar under the name "P2X in relation to Energy Islands".

Key findings from the white paper focus primarily on where in the eastern part of Denmark it is most cost-efficient to locate an energy hub or energy island with a P2X-plant connected. The island of Bornholm, Copenhagen and offshore in-turbine P2X production was investigated. Bornholm turned out to be the most cost-effective location in producing hydrogen, though presenting limits on the further conversion to methanol, due to CO2 sources scarcity, and on by-products utilization.

The webinar takes the analysis one step further and introduces the opportunities and barriers of P2X technologies deployment in relation to the planned Energy Island at Bornholm in the Baltic Sea.

A new ferry prepared for alternative fuels will arrive in 2022
In his presentation, lead author, Postdoctoral researcher Alessandro Singlitico from Center for Electric Power and Energy, DTU, points to report findings related to the challenges for P2X on Bornholm.

“The power infrastructure on Bornholm is limited compared to the planned 2 GW plant. What Bornholm can do is to host the infrastructure - the electrical equipment - that is needed to transmit the electricity to the rest of Denmark,” he says and adds another perspective on the challenge that does not include direct integration with the energy system.

“We also have a business case in Rønne Havn. The port has an annual fuel consumption of 237 GWh and has to comply with NOx-emission and CO2-emission regulations as soon as possible. Bornholmslinjen has bought a high-speed catamaran to be delivered in 2022, which can be fueled with renewable drop-in fuels as methanol and made via P2X."

As mentioned, Bornholm has limits on the further conversion to methanol due to COsources scarcity, and on by-products utilization. A solution to this could be the production of carbon-neutral synthetic fuels with heat integration between P2X technologiese.g. by producing renewable carbon-based fuels as much as the waste CO2 from biogas and biomass facilities allows it, and then convert the rest of the hydrogen into ammonia, exploring the synergies between the processes, explains Alessandro Singlitico.

When it comes to the potential of energy islands in general, they should be seen as a new instrument in the toolbox of energy planning.

“It could be a middle-way solution between building in all off-shore production of hydrogen into the turbines and the onshore centralized generation,” he concludes.

He adds that opportunities for future research include learning more about the many possible parameters, e.g. co-optimization of electricity and hydrogen production depending on the demand, which could be included in the study and affect the results.

All these extra parameters are case sensitive and demand much more work in order to have a final pre-feasibility study,” he says.

CO2 is a scarce source
Christoffer Greisen, Project Manager at DTU, moderates the debate and oversees the Q&A part of the webinar with questions from the audience that included academia and industry stakeholders. Following the presentation from Alessandro Singlitico the moderator gives the microphone to Chief Consultant (P2X) at Rambøll, Eva Ravn Nielsen.

She calls the white paper an important and thorough analysis that benefits society and creates a fundament to base decisions and investments on in order to make the green transition of our energy system.

One of your conclusions, that carbon is the limiting source for producing methanol in large-scale on Bornholm, is a fact that we face in our future energy systems.

As she puts it, it seems odd to have too much CO2 in our atmosphere, and still be lacking CO2 to produce green fuels. However, as the analysis in the white paper shows, we should regard CO2 as a scarce source.

“We should be careful, not to waste a carbon on solutions that can use electricity directly, hydrogen or ammonia, which is foreseen to be the winning energy carrier for shipping. One of the strong arguments for this is that carbon is a limited source,” says Eva Ravn Nielsen.

To wrap up her presentation, she stresses the importance of analyses such as the white paper to secure coordination and planning of the whole energy system.

Ørsted is aiming for large-scale P2X production up to 1,3 GW 

From there, Senior Manager (CE Market Development) at Ørsted, Leif Winther provided insight to future energy systems and energy markets. He read the white paper with great interest, as it is important to Ørsted to know where the optimal placement of hydrogen production is.

“Our interest in hydrogen production in Denmark is very big-scale production - an industrial scale –already in 2030. Therefore we have teamed up with the off-takers as Mærsk, SAS, DFDS. Because if there are no costumers for your product, there is no point in producing it,” says Leif Winther.

First step is to have 10 MW hydrogen production operational in Copenhagen in 2023 to fuel trucks and busses.”

Next phase is to refine the e-fuels to jet fuels and renewable methanol for maritime transport and move to a 250 MW facility by 2027.

“The ambition is to move to further industrial scale with an electrolyze capacity of 1,3 GW in 2030 to produce 250,000 tonnes of sustainable fuel for buses, trucks, maritime vessels, and airplanes every year” says Leif Winther.

According to him, the best location for renewable fuel production is a place with 5 dimensions represented: A power grid connection point, the opportunity to utilize waste heat, a hydrogen production and storage facility and a sustainable carbon source to transform the hydrogen to e.g. methanol. He supports the idea of looking at Bornholm as a P2X production location.

“Bornholm plays an important role in the decarbonization of Denmark being the frontrunner energy island,” says Leif Winther. He highly appreciates the white paper, but calls for more research to pave the way for a scaling-up of the production.

 “When we look at very large-scale production more factors come into play. I think it is very interesting for future studies to look at what happens if you scale-up to industrial production,” says Leif Winther. 

White paper: Partners and authors

Read the white paper here

Alessandro Singlitico, Nicolas Jean Bernard Campion, Marie Münster, Matti Juhani Koivisto, Nicolaos Antonio Cutululis, Cathy Jingqing Suo, Kenneth Karlsson, Torben Jørgensen, Jeppe Eimose Waagstein, Maja F. Bendtsen

Watch the one-hour webinar arranged by Energy Cluster Denmark and DTU here

Partners: Energy Cluster DenmarkDTU ManagementDTU ElektroDTU Wind EnergyBornholms Energi & ForsyningRønne HavnEnergy Modelling Lab

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