Utility company explores new solutions to support Power-to-X scheme
Photo: DIN Forsyning.
Photo: DIN Forsyning.
A total of 2.2 million cubic meters of ultra-pure water. This is the expected annual water demand for two upcoming power-to-x plants in the Danish city of Esbjerg.
Here, we are not talking about drinking water quality – no, it must be even cleaner. Power-to-x requires that salts and minerals, which are found naturally in Danish groundwater, must be removed before the water can be used. The consumption of raw water to obtain sufficient water supply is therefore considerably higher – in total approx. 3.4 million cubic meters annually.
The utility company in Esbjerg, DIN Forsyning, must within a few years be ready to supply this amount of ultra-clean water to at least two large PtX plants that will be established in the Esbjerg area. It would be both expensive, demanding and not very sustainable if these facilities were to be supplied with groundwater.
Consequently, DIN Forsyning has initiated a collaboration with NIRAS to investigate if treated wastewater or contaminated groundwater can constitute the water supply for power-to-x production.
"We have access to plenty of treated wastewater. And we never run dry. In Esbjerg alone, we discharge 15 million cubic meters annually to the ocean. Purified wastewater also does not have to be pumped up from the underground but is already in our system. Another advantage of using purified wastewater is that we avoid pumping groundwater with salts and minerals up from the underground, then purifying it and directing the residual water with an increased concentration of salts through the treatment plant for purification," explains business development manager Claus A. Nielsen from DIN Forsyning.
"We will make future energy solutions as sustainable as possible through innovation."
Business development manager Claus A. Nielsen from DIN Forsyning.
One of the two announced power-to-x facilities in Esbjerg is 'Høst PtX', which is being built by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners. This plant is scheduled to be commissioned in 2026. The other plant is being built by a joint venture consisting of Trafigura and H2 Energy. According to plan it will be put into operation as early as 2025.
In order for this PtX potential to be realized, several authority permits are required as well as access to sufficient power from renewable energy sources, which is needed for electrolysis. However, the water supply to the plants can also be a critical issue, explains Henrik Juhl, who is NIRAS's project manager on the project.
"We see great potential in contributing to the development of technology in relation to using purified wastewater for Power-to-X. The perspective here is that DIN Forsyning is in the process of gathering experience, which may turn out to be absolutely vital for Denmark’s ability to realize the country’s ambitions within power-to-x," says Søren Nøhr Bak, who is expertise director and industrial water treatment specialist at NIRAS.
"If we are successful, we will find new ways to preserve our precious resources and minimize waste. We will make future energy solutions as sustainable as possible through innovation. And we hope to find a customized water solution that supports the power-to-X development in a sustainable way," says Claus A. Nielsen from DIN Forsyning.
"The perspective here is that DIN Forsyning is in the process of gathering experience, which may turn out to be absolutely vital for Denmark’s ability to realize the country’s ambitions within power-to-x."
Søren Nøhr Bak, expertise director and industrial water treatment specialist at NIRAS.