Haldor Topsøe

Solution Statement

Haldor Topsoe is building the world’s first and largest 500 MW Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cell (SOEC) plant in Europe that will bring innovative electrolysis technology to the global market by 2023. 

Electrolysis is a key component in the Green Hydrogen Value-Chain and the SOEC plant will be “First Industrial Use”, since large-scale SOEC production has not been done before. Today, the largest electrolysis plant in operation is at 10-20 MW scale.

High-temperature SOEC electrolysis is more than 30 % more energy efficient than conventional electrolysers on the market today. Thus, the plant will contribute with innovation and a higher outcome of Green Hydrogen produced with less energy than is technically possible today. 

As Green Hydrogen can be further refined into low and zero-carbon emission chemicals, fertilizers and fuels, the SOEC plant will contribute to the decarbonization in the hard-to-abate-sectors such as heavy-industry, heavy-duty transportation, maritime and aviation. 

In example, the plant will provide SOEC electrolysis for a 100 MW Green Ammonia plant in Germany that will trade the green ammonia as fertilizer, chemicals or fuel.

Phase 1 (2023-2026): Commercial operation of 500 MW electrolysis capacity operating all day and year round. 

Phase 2 (2026-2030): Scale-up and commercial operation of a 5 GW production capacity of electrolysis.

Topsoe solutions enable climate-friendly hydrogen production all the way from renewable electricity to clean fuels and chemicals

Challenge Statement

Green Hydrogen is likely to reach cost-parity with grey hydrogen by 2025-2030. The following three regulatory parameters are essential for this to happen (even faster):

  • Higher tax on carbon emissions and fossil-based fuels and blending targets to create incentives for green alternatives in the industry. We believe that the price should be around 150-200 USD per tonnes CO2.
  • Green hydrogen requires massive built-out of renewable energy in an unforeseen pace to decarbonize the hard-to-abate sectors. As renewable energy accounts for the majority of the green hydrogen production cost, the prize on renewable energy has to come down or the price on carbon feedstocks/fossil fuels has to increase. 
  • Support for development of the Green Hydrogen through subsidies and incentives is also important. The combination of regulatory framework with long-term strategies and direct/indirect financial support boosts investor confidence in the merits of developing Green Hydrogen/Power-to-X at scale.

Energy Compact Description

Haldor Topsoe´s Energy Compact stipulated the overall aim to reduce the company’s GHG emissions by 15% from 2019 baseline (Scope 1 and 2). Science based GHG reduction targets set for Scope 1, 2 and 3, consistent with the Paris Agreement will be implemented in 2021-2022. 

Building a plant that produces SOEC-electrolysis technology at industrial-scale with 500 MW installed electrolysis in 2023 increasing to 5GW in 2030 is an essential contribution to the Green Hydrogen Economy as it provides scalability which is needed for the prize on electrolysis to come down, which together with CO2-costs can back the realization of a cost-parity with grey hydrogen by 2025-2030.

Energy Compact Indicators

If we compare production of Green Hydrogen with recent designed SMR based Grey Hydrogen plants, the molar ratio between CO2 and Hydrogen range from 0.42 (Lean NG feed) to 0.58 (Naphtha feed).

Theoretically, and looking only on the process side, the ratio would be 0.25 for pure Methane feed, the difference to above number is heavier feed, and heat input for the endothermic process.

With a hydrogen output from each SOEC core of 140 Nm3/h, each core will save 59-81 Nm3/h of CO2 corresponding to 30-41 kg/h.

With the estimated production output of the SOEC production plant (500 MW), there will be a 297,000-410,000 tons of C02-reduction yearly (2024) increasing to 483,000-667,000 tons of C02-reduction yearly (2030) at 8000 h/year.In 2016, Denmark’s CO2 emission was 38,007,645 ton, so the above numbers corresponds to 1-2% of Denmark’s 2016 carbon emissions (or 0.001-0.002% of world emissions).

The capital cost of the hydrogen generation plant and Fuel Cell system is very high making P2P & energy storage solution unviable.  For the overall system to become viable, ramping up of manufacturing capability and setting up of manufacturing facilities in India needs to be incentivized. The overall round-trip efficiency also needs to be improved by way of technical improvements to reduce the requirement of renewable power