The government sale of an 11 hector plot of land in Måde near Esbjerg to Swiss renewable energy company H2 Energy Europe paves the way for the construction of Europe’s largest Power-to-X (PtX) plant in Esbjerg, which, depending on permits and other approvals could be commissioned as early as 2024. The plant will convert green electricity into hydrogen, which can be used directly in trucks and other heavy land-based transport. The project is expected to create up to 200-300 new permanent jobs in the area. According to the current plans, Esbjerg will house two PtX plants, each of which will be Europe’s largest in its field, says Esbjerg Municipality’s Mayor Jesper Frost Rasmussen.
The project in question is a green hydrogen Power-to-X plant, and again the plant’s planned production capability exceeds any previous facilities in Europe. H2 Energy Europe will convert electricity from offshore wind turbines into green hydrogen. This major investment in a green hydrogen facility comes only a few months after it was announced that Europe’s largest ammonia plant would also be built near Esbjerg.
“Esbjerg has optimal conditions in relation to Power-to-X and green hydrogen production. First and foremost, there is a geographical advantage due to its location relative to North Sea offshore wind, just as the area has a good location in terms of export opportunities to large industrial areas in Germany and Northern Europe, where a major share of production is expected to be hydrogen-based in the future. To build a GW-sized green hydrogen production site fits into the PtX strategy of Denmark and we are looking forward to being part of this strategy by setting up the green ecosystem in Denmark.. There are different hurdles to overcome to make the transition to hydrogen trucking, including the accelerated construction of hydrogen pipelines, but in close cooperation with the Danish government we believe that this is feasible,” said Clifford zur Nieden, director of H2 Energy Europe explaining why the choice fell on Esbjerg.
Dan Jørgensen, Danish Minister of Climate, Energy and Utilities welcomes H2 Energy Europe to Denmark.
“The plans of H2 Energy Europe help us write a new chapter in the history of Esbjerg as a business centre. From fishing and oil extraction, Esbjerg is rapidly moving towards a future that helps underline Denmark’s status as a green superpower. Green fuels including hydrogen are crucial for the green society of the future – not only in Denmark, but also in Europe and around the world. The technology holds great opportunities for both the climate and the business community, and Esbjerg is helping to bring Denmark to the forefront,” said Dan Jørgensen. “In the same way as Denmark was instrumental in building a framework for the wind industry to become successful on a large scale, then we believe the same can happen for the mass implementation of the hydrogen truck evolution that is ahead of us here,” concluded Dan Jørgensen.
“We plan to produce tomorrow’s fuel. It is our goal to establish the cost-effective production and distribution of climate-friendly hydrogen that is CO2-free and produced exclusively with renewable energy. We see green hydrogen as the key to a meaningful and efficient transition from fossil fuels to emission-free fuel cell electromobility,” the director of H2 Energy Europe says about the company’s aspiration for the project. “Over time adopting hydrogen trucks will help Denmark to meet its climate targets. We have a two-part plan which includes an immediate focus on producing green hydrogen on a small scale by the end of 2022 so that the first hydrogen-fuelled trucks can be in operation on the Danish roads, followed by the potential for mass implementation by 2024 when the intended 1GW plant could be fully operational.”
Strong and experienced PtX player
H2 Energy is an experienced actor in Power-to-X in Switzerland as the company already produces green hydrogen and has almost 50 hydrogen trucks in operation and a further 1,600 hydrogen trucks to be delivered in the next few years, as well as a network of hydrogen refuelling stations in partnerships with large industrial players such as Hyundai, Alpiq and Linde. Another aspect of the plan is for hydrogen trucks and hydrogen refuelling stations to be part of H2 Energy Europe’s hydrogen-based ecosystem in Denmark.
“Denmark’s green political ambitions, a stable political climate and a well-functioning public administration mean that we are an attractive country for sustainable energy investments. It is a great pleasure to see that our close collaboration with H2 Energy Europe and Esbjerg Municipality has resulted in plans to establish a large Power-to-X project in Esbjerg. Invest in Denmark is working hard to attract foreign investment in Power-to-X projects in Denmark for the benefit of Danish growth and job creation,” says Klaus Werner, acting head of department for Invest in Denmark under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Strengthening Esbjerg’s position in the green transition
In Esbjerg, Mayor Jesper Frost Rasmussen welcomes the news. He sees H2 Energy Europe’s plans as an example of the town taking the lead in the green transition and pushing for the general development of new green energy solutions, as transport is not only a local problem, but very much one of the biggest challenges internationally.
“Esbjerg is becoming an example to Europe and the world in the green transition. Two major international actors have now chosen Esbjerg, and this is partly due to the fact that for more than a decade, we have been a leader in Europe and the whole world in terms of shipping out offshore wind turbines. Esbjerg is well on its way to becoming a hub for green energy, which helps to strengthen its position as a dynamo for the green transition,” says Jesper Frost Rasmussen, Mayor of Esbjerg Municipality.
In Southwest Jutland’s largest business organisation, Business Esbjerg, the enthusiasm is also clear to see. Here, in close collaboration with Invest in Denmark as a crucial partner, they have worked hard to get the agreement for the land acquisition with H2 Energy Europe across the line.
“This is fantastic news and shows that green development is happening here and now in southwest Jutland, where we have optimal conditions to take the lead. Large projects like this make a huge difference in relation to climate goals and the green transition. At the same time, it shows us that we have the prerequisites to be a very attractive area for investors looking for green investments,” says Business Esbjerg Director Susanne Nordenbæk.