MEP, Morten Helveg Petersen visits Skive. ”A visit to the future”, he says.
The green energy park GreenLab in Skive has both the facilities and the technologies to deliver on Europe’s green climate promises. There is a great demand for cross-border collaboration in Europe, and on 17th of March 2021, MEP Morten Helveg Petersen will visit GreenLab Skive, which has the potential to become the green platform for a Danish export adventure.
Europe aims to be carbon-neutral by 2050 and Denmark has the potential to be the pioneer that puts on the green jersey and shows the rest of the EU which way to go. Denmark's first green energy park, GreenLab Skive, is already the frontrunner when it comes to Power-to-X and sector coupling, and as Morten Helveg Petersen says:
"I spend 80 percent of my working time working on Europe’s green transition, and technological development is simply a mainstay in achieving our goal. We have agreed that the EU must be climate neutral by 2050 and new technologies are essential for us to succeed. GreenLab is leading the way in this area, so I am of course interested in seeing how these green technologies have been integrated with each other. I expect to have a look into the future", says Morten Helveg Petersen ahead of the visit.
Member of the European Hydrogen Alliance
The energy park's CEO, Christopher Sorensen, is already a part of the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance, which has been established by the European Commission. GreenLab contributes with its expertise to the collaboration in order to enable a large deployment of Power-to-X plants in Europe. GreenLab’s experience is based on the learning achieved as Denmark’s PtX frontrunner and national research platform. Christopher Sorensen is pleased that EU Parliamentarian Morten Helveg Petersen wants to visit the park:
"GreenLab Skive will create a powershift and we have already come a very long way. We want to change the way energy is produced, stored and distributed so that we benefit more from the green transition and utilize Danish knowledge. And it is an important milestone for us to be allowed to lift our ambitions into a collaboration at European level", says Christopher Sorensen, CEO of GreenLab Skive.
EU parliamentarian with green focus
Morten Helveg Petersen was appointed the new rapporteur for the European Parliament's strategy on offshore renewable energy at the beginning of the year and is also a member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy.
The fact that Denmark pioneered wind energy and is the world leader in this area is not a coincidence. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s massive support was given to the wind industry and ambitious plans were made for how Denmark could make itself independent of oil. This resulted in an export adventure for the wind industry.
Power‐to‐X is a technology that converts green power from wind and solar power into hydrogen via electrolysis. The hydrogen can then be made into green fuels for aircraft, ships, heavy transport and industry.
According to Morten Helveg Petersen, GreenLab Skive may have the potential to become a new Danish export adventure:
"It is unique to combine sustainable ideas and cutting-edge technologies. We know that we need to become better at harnessing the earth's resources - this is done, for example, by making flour from starfish as we see at GreenLab. We must recycle resources. This is done, for example, with low waste plastic fuels which GreenLab also includes. And then there are the energy forms. Electrolysis has a huge perspective. It is essentially via electrolysis that future generations will be able to continue to fly around the globe - current aviation technology emits far too much CO2", says the MEP.
Frontrunner on hydrogen production and sector coupling
The energy park in Skive is already far along with its plans to convert hydrogen from electrolysis and CO2 from a biogas plant to methanol:
"The plan is that a 12 MW electrolysis plant will soon produce hydrogen with electricity from local wind turbines and solar cells. Hydrogen can be used in several different ways: part of it will be converted into methanol by adding CO2, and part of it will be used directly for heavy transport via a mobile high-pressure stock. The hydrogen can also be used for industrial purposes", Christopher Sorensen explains.
GreenLab Skive's new Power-to-X plant will be one of the first full-scale production facilities for hydrogen and methanol in Denmark and one of the largest in the world when it comes into operation.
The European Commission estimates that by 2050 there will be a European Power-to-X consumption of 1,600 TWh, equivalent to 75 percent of total European electricity consumption today. Under the “Green Deal” the aim is to involve all sectors from energy to transport, buildings, agriculture and forestry in the green transition. This is the interconnection called sector coupling – and at GreenLab Skive, it is already a reality, says the CEO:
"Most people are used to thinking of the energy sector as a series of silos – e.g. the gas sector, the heating sector and the electricity sector – and for years we have been thinking about savings within each silo. But we need to think about the energy sector in a more holistic way if we want to bring about a profound change. We have to rethink how energy is produced, stored and used across the silos.
If we do that, for example, we can store excess energy from one type of energy in another sector before it is used in a third – that way, energy is never wasted. For example, we can utilize the CO2 in existing biogas and CHP plants in power-to-X production. And the heat that develops when we produce hydrogen by electrolysis can be used in district heating systems. We must constantly think about our energy system in circular terms”, says Christopher Sorensen.
100% circular and without energy waste
GreenLab Skive was established in 2018 with a vision to form an energy park for green companies based on material recycling, renewable energy, and circular economy. Since then, the energy park has attracted over DKK1.6 billion from private investors while several companies and hundreds of jobs have been created.
Uniquely, the companies in GreenLab Skive share their excess resources via the so-called SymbiosisNet – one company's excess heat is another company's heat source:
"Our model is 100% circular and without energy waste – renewable energy is either used directly by the connected companies in the energy park or used via electrolysis to produce PtX fuels for agriculture, heavy transport and industrial production. That way, GreenLab Skive's energy-producing community of small and large producing units that can share energy – together with an infrastructure that can act as a "buffer" and store energy – is the solution to how all the world's energy assets should ideally be linked together to optimize resource consumption and avoid unnecessary CO2 emissions", Christopher Sorensen explains, and he is backed by Morten Helveg Petersen:
"I think GreenLab is a great example of everything we are capable of in Denmark, which will undoubtedly lead to heydays for Denmark's green companies. Not only are we at the forefront of technology. We also have a long tradition of working together across sectors - just look at the development of Danish district heating. Foreign countries are watching enviously. The same can be said of GreenLab. We can be really proud of this", Morten Helveg Petersen concludes.