The Anonymous Widower

Can The UK Have A Capacity To Create Five GW Of Green Hydrogen?

This article in The Times today is entitled Net Zero By 2050: Bold Aims Are An Example To Other Nations.

It is an analysis of the Government’s plans for a greener future.

This is a paragraph.

Only a few small-scale green hydrogen plants exist globally, and so five gigawatts of low-carbon hydrogen generation by 2030 is a bold commitment. For context, BP recently announced that it was building its first full-scale green hydrogen facility, in Germany — with a 50-megawatt capacity.

I don’t think from the tone, that the writer thinks it is possible.

On the other hand I do believe it is possible.

ITM Power

ITM Power are the experts in electrolysis and have the largest electrolyser factory in the world, which is capable of supplying 1 GW of electrolyser capacity per annum.

It would appear they can supply the required five GW of electrolyser capacity in time for 2030.

The Herne Bay Electrolyser

Ryze Hydrogen are building the Herne Bay electrolyser.

  • It will consume 23 MW of solar and wind power.
  • It will produce ten tonnes of hydrogen per day.
  • The hydrogen it produces will be mainly for hydrogen buses in London.
  • Delivery of the hydrogen will be by truck.

The electrolyser will consume 552 MWh to produce ten tonnes of hydrogen, so creating one tonne of hydrogen needs 55.2 MWh of electricity.

To produce five gigawatts of hydrogen would require nearly 220 electrolysers the size of Herne Bay.

ITM Power and Ørsted: Wind Turbine Electrolyser Integration

But ITM Power are working on a project with Ørsted , where wind turbines and hydrogen electrolysers are co-located, at sea to produce the hydrogen offshore.

ITM Power talks about the project in this press release on their web site.

This is the introductory paragraph.

ITM Power, the energy storage and clean fuel company, is pleased to share details of a short project sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), in late 2019, entitled ‘Hydrogen supply competition’, ITM Power and Ørsted proposed the following: an electrolyser placed at the wind turbine e.g. in the tower or very near it, directly electrically connected to the DC link in the wind turbine, with appropriate power flow control and water supplied to it. This may represent a better design concept for bulk hydrogen production as opposed to, for instance, remotely located electrolysers at a terminal or platform, away from the wind turbine generator, due to reduced costs and energy losses.

The proposed concept is also described.

  • A marine environment capable electrolyser
  • ‘Type IV’ wind turbine generators and their ‘DC link’ have the potential to power the electrolyser directly
  • This enables fewer power conversion steps and thereby reduces both energy losses and electrolyser footprint
  •  Readily abundant cooling capacity via the sea water
  •  Energy in the form of Hydrogen gas supplied to shore by pipe rather than via electricity
  •  Connecting one electrolyser with one turbine wind generator
  •  Other avoided costs of this concept include permitting, a single process unit deployment


  1. I can’t find a Type IV wind turbine generator, but the largest that Ørsted have installed are about 8 MW.
  2. This size would require 750 turbines to provide the UK’s five gigawatts of hydrogen.
  3. 12 MW turbines are under development.

The Hornsea wind farm is being developed by Ørsted

  • Hornsea 1 has a capacity of 1.2 GW and was completed in 2020.
  • Hornsea 2 will have a capacity of 1.8 GW and will be completed in 2022.
  • Hornsea 3 will have a capacity of 2.4 GW and will be completed in 2025.
  • Hornsea 4 will have a yet-to-be-determined capacity and could be completed in 2027.

This wind farm will probably supply over 6 GW on its own, when the wind is blowing.

Bringing The Hydrogen Ashore

This has been done since the 1960s in UK waters and it will be very traditional projects for the UK’s engineers.

  • Some of the existing pipes could be repurposed.
  • Worked out gas fields could probably be used to store the hydrogen or carbon dioxide captured from gas- or coal-fired power stations.

I’m fairly sure that by the use of valves and clever control systems, the pipes linking everything together could be used by different gases.


Producing 5 GW of green hydrogen per year by 2030 is possible.



November 19, 2020 - Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , , ,


  1. for me, the big question with hydrogen is what it will cost. You can use wind or solar (or tide or waves) to produce electricity directly. If you produce hydrogen, then you have to add the cost of electrolysis to produce something which is less energy efficient than electricity itself. You can store hydrogen, but then you have to compare it with other storage media. If, like me, you think that battery storage prices are likely to plummet over the next 10 years or so, then I think the question is not so much whether a given GW of hydrogen can be produced, but whether it’s worth it.

    Comment by Peter Robins | November 19, 2020 | Reply

  2. You will need masses of hydrogen for transport applications and industrial processes like steelmaking and the production of ammonia and other chemicals.

    The next generation of wind turbines will be floating ones, as for some reason they seem to produce more electricity. See Hywind Scotland.

    I did the mathematics for a floating oil production platform in the 1970s and I believe that floating wind turbines can be built in a dry dock, floated into position and just connected to the gas or electrical network. Major faults or updates would be fixed by moving the turbine back into the dock or a specialist ship.

    All this will mean that the cost of producing hydrogen offshore will come down.

    It should also be noted that pipelines are more affordable, than electrical cables. Especially, if they already exist.

    There is some very hard thinking going on.

    Comment by AnonW | November 19, 2020 | Reply

    • I would question whether you do ‘need masses of hydrogen’. Current batteries have limited storage capacity, so you need hydrogen as a range extender for transport, but that’s likely to change substantially over the next 10 years or so. Most industrial processes don’t need hydrogen as such, they need a cheap source of power. Until recently, most electricity was produced from hydrocarbons like coal and gas, which meant that electricity was (and still is) more expensive than gas. Renewable energy turns that on its head. If every building in the country produces at least some of its own electricity, which is impossible with hydrocarbons or hydrogen, but very possible with solar, then you have upfront installation costs, but the cost of energy is 0. You can combine that generation into local grids and minimise distribution costs. You do need storage, both short-term for day-night and still-windy days, and long-term seasonal for winter heating, but if storage costs go down, I’m not sure that hydrogen can compete on price, even ignoring distribution costs.

      Comment by Peter Robins | November 19, 2020 | Reply

      • Hydrogen is the cheapest way to decarbonise space heating, that is currently heated by gas.

        Comment by AnonW | November 19, 2020

      • well, as I said above, nobody knows atm what h2 will cost. There is no large-scale production anywhere in the world. Large companies like the oil and gas companies are very keen, as they can make use of some of their existing assets. They also have the engineering skills to make it happen, so it may be a good pragmatic interim measure. But longer term ??

        Comment by Peter Robins | November 19, 2020

  3. ITM Power is the key.

    The current factory can provide one GW of electrolysers a year. We would need that production and the Germans are buying a lot of kit from ITM Power.

    As ITM Power’s factory is automated, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Linde organise a second large factory in Germany or somewhere inside the EU.

    Comment by AnonW | November 19, 2020 | Reply

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