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System perspective of hydrogen production in connection to district heating

RISE runs a project, HyCoGen, which analyses the possibility of profitable hydrogen production through sector coupling to district heating. Leading district heating suppliers in Sweden are participating. The purpose is to show how hydrogen can be both profitable and have great climate benefits. Now it has qualified on IVA's 100 list!

Previous investigations have concluded that the production and storage of hydrogen for later electricity production is not profitable based on current conditions. The reason is mainly its costs and losses in the energy conversions. This project analyses the possibilities of recovering heat losses in the process to contribute to existing district heating production. The losses can thereby generate district heating revenue.

Oxygen is another residual product that is created in green hydrogen production. It can, for example, be used in the combustion of biomass or waste, which improves the burning and reduces nitrogen compounds in the flue gases, which also facilitates carbon capture.

The hydrogen can also be used for fuel in heavy trucks or various types of industrial processes. This creates greater flexibility for the plant owner and reduces the requirements for the size of the storage.

Producing hydrogen from an increasingly weather-dependent electricity production, mainly wind power, contributes to stabilizing the electricity grid. Thanks to the ability to store hydrogen, it is also possible to sell the FCR-D system service. When the grid is heavily loaded, the electrolysis process can reduce its electricity consumption, in favour of other businesses that do not have the same opportunity. A local battery store can contribute to rapid power variations and more system services.

The project reviews current and future technologies, where cost and efficiencies are expected to change in a positive direction for the process's finances. The sketch below shows green ellipses that the project focuses on and that can generate additional revenue.

System perspective of hydrogen production with sector coupling
System perspective of hydrogen production with sector coupling opportunities

With the war in Ukraine and the ambitions to reduce dependence on Russian natural gas, this project has also acquired a European dimension. District heating is a technology that has extraordinary advantages from a system perspective. You can burn garbage, forest waste and other types of fuels that generate both heat for residential heating and electricity. By producing hydrogen gas in connection with the district heating plant, additional district heating can be generated, at the same time as the gas can replace imported Russian gas.

This can be an excellent system solution for countries such as Estonia, Latvia, Poland and Germany. Maybe also the solution for Ukraine, when that country will hopefully soon be rebuilt from ruins.

A selection of public results (in Swedish only)

Summary

Project name

HyCoGen

Status

Active

RISE role in project

Project manager & project partner

Project start

Duration

2 years

Total budget

7 MSEK

Partner

Karlstads Energi, Stockholm Exergi, Tekniska verken, Mälarenergi, Göteborg Energi, Siemens Energy, Mälardalens högskola

Funders

Energimyndigheten, Göteborg Energis stiftelse för Forskning och Utveckling

Supports the UN sustainability goals

7. Affordable and clean energy
9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
11. Sustainable cities and communities
13. Climate action
Anders Wickström

Contact person

Anders Wickström

Senior Projektledare

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Jenny Lindborg

Contact person

Jenny Lindborg

Projektledare

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