100% renewable targets will require power storage to manage flows on the net
Electrolysers utilise these intermittent power flows to produce H2 gas from water
H2 gas can be stored in large quantities underground and transported via existing gas pipelines
H2 vehicles recharge faster and are more durable than battery powered transport
Growing H2 demand in industrial processes will reduce costs and increase supply

Denmark now holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union. Within its objectives, the Danish presidency has placed Green Growth and the creation of Green Jobs high in the political priority. The EHA secretariat took a peak into the Danish perspective with Aksel Mortensgaard, a civil engineer and the Director of the Danish Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells.

EHA: Firstly, as we have stepped into a new year and a new Presidency of the EU, we look to what has been already achieved in Denmark, with regards to hydrogen and fuel cell integration within the Danish Energy System, – what are the achievements in the last year?

Mr. Mortensgaard: In Denmark much more focus has been set on the source of energy to produce the fuels to be applied by fuel cells. The aims are, hydrogen to be produced from renewable power and green fuels to be produced from hydrogen and biomass. In November 2011 the government introduced a goal that by 2035 – all electricity and heat should be produced by renewable energy. This objective is in the process of been passed by national government. Obviously, this ambitious goal becomes a driver for development of hydrogen and fuel cell technology. To reach 100% renewable energy in the electric grid, you need to introduce the Smart Grid and you need to be able to store energy.  This is the opinion of the system operator “Energinet.dk,” which is the national organization responsible for balancing the grid.

Hydrogen is playing a more increasing role in Energy storage. Wind energy companies increasingly also are becoming stakeholders in the industry of fuel cells and hydrogen.

The whole value chain is being investigated starting from the energy source to the end user. In the case of transport, Denmark is developing technology to produce hydrogen at the tanking station from wind energy. The goal is to produce hydrogen at low costs and at high conversion efficiency.

 

EHA: What would you like to see happen within the Danish Presidency?

Mr. Mortensgaard: The Danish plan is being negotiated at the moment. The government is setting ambitious goals within renewable energy, and this is also the will for Europe. Strong ambitious goals will be a driver for hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.

We need ambitious political goals, and financial support to support technological development. The wind sector still receives governmental financial support, through tariffs for example. We now are in the phase of demonstrating hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. But in order to commercialize these, industry needs financial support for early market introduction; especially within building of infrastructure.

EHA: EHA is partner in a project dealing with the education and training of hydrogen technicians, as this is also an objective of the Danish presidency to improve and expand “Green Jobs”, when looking into the Danish case. Do you see a gap in the industry needs of today/tomorrow within the hydrogen sector?

Mr. Mortensgaard: This is also an issue in Denmark. We have identified that we need highly skilled jobs, to survive in the economic situation of today. We urge young people to specialize within natural sciences at the universities; it is definitely something being discussed in Denmark. We have seen that highly skilled people need to get into the hydrogen and fuel cell business. Education of sciences is important, but it does not necessary have to be within hydrogen and fuel cells. If you are highly skilled you probably also are a quick learner.

The Danish export of hydrogen stations in Europe and the world is estimated by 2025 to be about 1.5 Billion Euros. 5,000-6,000 people are expected to be working in the sector in Denmark alone, for the building of hydrogen fuelling stations. To work with green energy is very attractive among young people. If we don’t have sufficient people to graduate in Denmark, we need young people from Europe or the rest of the world to settle in Denmark in these professions.

 EHA: In the New Year, what is your wish for 2012?

Mr. Mortensgaard: I would like to see that our government is working towards ambitious clean energy goals for Denmark; but more importantly I would like to see this to spread throughout Europe.