Energy company Essent and PV project developer Solinoor have inked an agreement to jointly develop a green hydrogen production facility that is powered by floating and ground-mounted PV systems in the Netherlands. Essent and Solinoor are both Dutch companies, though the former has been a part of German energy multinational RWE since 2009. This story was first reported by other renewable energy news websites.
The exact location of the green hydrogen production facility has yet to be revealed. Based the available information provided by the companies and news outlets, the electrolysis capacity of the facility is set at 5MW. Solinoor will feed power from floating and ground-mounted PV arrays to the facility. The facility will also incorporate a battery energy storage system to store surplus power that can help maintain operation or be fed back to the grid. On other hand, if the facility is not receiving enough power from PV projects, then it will draw power from wind farms.
Essent and Solinoor will also collaborate on building a local green hydrogen supply network. For instance, the hydrogen gas from this proposed facility can be delivered to customers via a direct pipeline or road transport. Green hydrogen can substitute natural gas for heating purposes if its cost can be lowered significantly. The Dutch government is currently pushing for the development of a wind-to-hydrogen energy system. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) released a report this February stating that if the country is able to install 38.5GW of offshore wind generation capacity by 2040, its green hydrogen production capacity will also expand to around 23GW at that time.
The green hydrogen facility that Essent and Solinoor are planning is the first of its kind in the country (i.e., one that integrates ground-based and floating PV arrays and battery energy storage). Commenting on this agreement, Vahid Kharidar, director of Solinoor, said that even with the limited grid capacity and other existing challenges, “there is always a solution” for industries when it comes to the transition to 100% green energy. Kharidar added that his company’s capabilities in investing, designing, and building PV projects complement Essent’s role as a leading energy supplier. Going forward, the two companies will be jointly offering integrated energy solutions to their customers.
In its statement about the deal, Essent said that potential customers will have the option of switching to 100% hydrogen or initially consuming a mix of hydrogen and natural gas before making the complete switch at a later time. This will allow end users including enterprises to adopt green energy in “a responsible, controlled manner”. The ultimate rationale for building this green hydrogen production facility is to enable the sustainable production of hydrogen gas while addressing the issue of grid congestion caused by the deployment of renewable generation assets and maintaining a balanced energy network.