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Greenland Launches Project to Store Renewable Energy with Hydrogen

The national energy company of Greenland, Nukissiorfiit, has launched the H2KT project to establish a demonstration hydrogen and fuel cell plant in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, for storage of renewable energy. H2 Logic A/S has been selected as supplier of the plant, after a competitive bid round, with planned start of operation by end of the year.

Concept of the H2KT project. Click to enlarge.

About half of the energy that Nukissiorfiit produces today is based on hydro power, with the remainder produced using imported diesel fuel. Smaller towns and settlements are especially dependent on diesel based energy supply, and many of them do not have the possibility to establish hydro power or other types of renewable energy in larger scale. Diesel energy production is also used as reserve in the cities that are supplied from hydro power today.

Calculations have shown that Greenland have a theoretical hydro power potential sufficient to supply 70% of Europe with electricity. However, storage is required to balance the seasonal fluctuations in energy consumption and to enable distribution of energy to cities and settlements without local potential for renewable energy production.

The H2KT-project will investigate the potential of using hydrogen and fuel cells as energy storage in Greenland. Excess electricity produced by hydro power will be used for electrolytic production of hydrogen, which will be stored. In periods with higher energy consumption, typically during winter, the stored hydrogen will be converted to electricity and heat in a fuel cell.

The hydrogen and fuel cell plant that will be established at the Nukissiorfiit headquarters in Nuuk will function as an experimental plant giving Nukissiorfiit specific experiences in both production and use of hydrogen. The plant will produce hydrogen based on electricity from the hydro power plant in Nuuk, and the hydrogen will be used for supplying energy for the Nukissiorfiit headquarters. The plant is also to help increase the public awareness of hydrogen and fuel cells in Greenland.

In addition to the electrolysis unit (19.4 Nm3/hour, max.) and 20 kW fuel cell, the plant also includes a compression and distribution system that enables storing of the hydrogen under pressure in distributable bulks. This way the hydrogen can be distributed to other cities and settlements in Greenland where it can be used for local energy production. The plant is also prepared for a future upgrade with a hydrogen refuelling station, enabling use of hydrogen as fuel for transport.



I don't understand why they need storage if it's hydro-power: just pump the water back up and you store potential energy, with an efficiency that can't be as bad as the 0.5 you get from hydrolising water.


This is an interesting system, but I agree that it does not seem to be a very energy efficient approach.


Pumped hydro is more than 70% efficient, but requires land, the proper terrain and large capital investment.

Iceland is doing similar things with their geothermal. They want to run all cars and fishing boats on H2. It may be less costly initially, but cost more in the long run, I don't know.

Jamie Keefer

How are you so certain about the efficiency of electrolysis? Efficiency rates have been estimated between 50-80% depending on product and process.

If you want to compare to efficiency, to oil...42 gallons of crude, makes about 20 gallons of gas. How much energy is required to explore, pump, transport, store, refine, and distribute gasoline?

I don't think efficiency is the deciding factor.

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