“It’s been exciting to follow the early and incremental progress of this impressive project,” says Ivar-Jo Theien, Senior Business Developer in hydrogen, ammonia and CCUS at Innovation Norway.
Other pioneering technologies are under development as well in a multifaceted green hydrogen hub.
Let’s start with the catalyst of it all – the Tizir Titanium and Iron (TTI) plant. Like most metallurgy plants, TTI burns coal or other fossil fuels in the production process. Located in Tyssedal on the Hardangerfjord, TTI produces titanium slag and high-purity pig iron from ilmenite. The end-products are used in the pigment industry and the European foundry market, respectively.
Now TTI’s owner, Eramet Norway, has taken the unprecedented step to replace coal with hydrogen, which will reduce CO2 emissions in the production process and may have powerfully positive ripple effects worldwide.
“Such pilot projects are expensive and time consuming, but necessary for achieving a net-zero society by 2050,” Theien points out.
“The project in Tyssedal boasts some impressive numbers. It will reduce carbon emissions by 82 per cent, decrease energy consumption by 35 per cent, and eliminate the use of 100 000 metric tons of coal,” explains Jorulf Kyrkeeide, Project Manager at Eramet Titanium & Iron.
“And because hydrogen is a much better reductant than coal, we expect to increase our production by up to 50 per cent,” he adds.
The project is so groundbreaking that the EU has taken notice, awarding it status as an Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) for the industrial use of hydrogen.
In addition, the Norwegian government is providing EUR 26 million through state-funded Enova. “This project would not fly without public funding. This is a new arena when it comes to technology, and we could not finance it all ourselves,” says Kyrkeeide.
Divided into two phases, the project will consist of pilot plant studies, on which a demo plant in Tyssedal will be based. Both phases are expected to take four years to complete.
TTI will need 10 000 metric tons of green hydrogen per year to replace coal in its production process. Where will all this hydrogen be produced and stored? Just down the street, of course!
Hardanger Hydrogen Hub is a development project for the production, storage, consumption and distribution of green hydrogen. Green hydrogen will be produced locally using water electrolysis and the abundant hydroelectric power for which Tyssedal is well known.
Pilot studies are already underway, and hydrogen production is expected to start up in 2023, with full-scale production in 2029.
“Norway and the world are now waking up to the enormous potential of green hydrogen,” says Ingvald Torblå, CEO of Odda Technology, who has been working on the hub project for over a decade.
“Hardanger Hydrogen Hub is one of the strongest green energy projects in Norway, partly because of the global potential. The project is a good example of how the industry is leading the development of society – here with a project that involves all three levels in the industry: energy, process and system,” he adds.
The project is being developed in a collaboration between Statkraft, one of the largest producers of renewable energy in Europe, and the industrial companies Eramet Titanium & Iron, TechnipFMC and Odda Technology, all of which have a presence in the Hardanger region. It has also received public funding from the Research Council of Norway and Innovation Norway.
But hydrogen production is only one piece of the puzzle. The hydrogen needs to be stored somewhere as well. In Hardanger, it will be stored in a unique location – under the seabed – using an exciting new technology for subsea hydrogen storage. The technology is being developed by TechnipFMP in collaboration with Statkraft.
Over time, the hub will expand further to create synergies with local industrial use of oxygen and fuel supplies for shipping. The export of excess green hydrogen to the international market holds great promise as well.
“The Tizir project, together with the Hardanger Hydrogen Hub, is a true collaboration. Many independent goals are being combined to create synergies for the green transition,” concludes Eramet’s Jorulf Kyrkeeide.