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4. GreenLab: where the future of energy is being made

The business of climate change / Intelligent grids / P2X – biogas to green hydrogen / Maersk / £160m inward investment since 2018

Green Lab is a futuristic business park that is developing an integrated response to climate change, harnessing business and research academies to develop commercially viable solutions. As the Danish government has made clear, business will be at the forefront of necessary change.

GreenLab, Net Zero Denark
The AD facility around which GreenLab has been constructed.

Karl Egeris Krogshede, Climate Consultant at Energy City Skive and one the prime movers behind GreenLab, emphasises the point. ‘You can’t tackle climate change without the investment of business. All projects we have pursued are based on who will invest.’

GreenLab has been developed to show what is possible. As such it is a business park, national research facility and technology enabler. It aims to change the means of production through a novel structure known as SymbiosisNetTM. This is an intelligent local grid of energy and data that lets companies share their surplus energy, cutting their waste and costs.

The green energy is stored in all its forms – power, heat and electrofuels – which enables it to be used when needed. It also serves the local community.

GreenLab, Net Zero Denmark
Biogas features large in the branding of GreenLab.

At its heart sits a 500,000 tonne per year centralised Anaerobic Digester, securing feedstock from around 80 local farmers. It does not treat household food waste. The gas is used to produce CO2 neutral fuel for heavy shipping and transport.

Last December (2019) GreenLab received a grant of €10.7 million from the Danish Energy Agency, ‘to cement Denmark’s position on the global green energy market’.

Together with a series of partners, GreenLab will create the world’s first largescale facility for production of green hydrogen and methanol, with the primary aim of decarbonising heavy industry and transport.

The process will convert green energy generated by wind turbines and solar power to be stored, and then converted to other forms of energy to be used as sustainable fuels for heavy transport and the process industry.

The process is called P2X, which stands for power-to-X. This is an all-encompassing term that describes numerous pathways for the storage and conversion of surplus energy from fluctuating wind and solar supply for use in other sectors. ‘X’ can refer to power-to-ammonia, -chemicals, -fuel, -gas, -heat, -hydrogen, -methane and -syngas.

The GreenLab project entails (among other things) the creation of a 12 MW electrolysis plant and a 10 MW methanol plant. Power will come from a local 80MW hybrid wind and solar plant.

The project is being backed by numerous companies, including Maersk, the shipping giant which currently use 10 million tonnes of heavy fuels a year, powering a fleet of over 700 ships.

GreenLab, Energy City Skive, Net Zero Denmark
Ole Graa Jakobsen, Vice President, Head of Fleet Technology at Maersk Line.

Maersk has committed to being carbon neutral by 2050 and is an external partner of GreenLab. Ole Graa Jakobsen, Vice President, Head of Fleet Technology at Maersk Line, said, ‘P2X has the potential to become one of these solutions, and GreenLab is an exciting partner that we look forward to collaborating with in the years to come.’

This goes to the heart of the Danish model of renewable energy development – scope the potential, identify who is needed to deliver and where the market is, then bring them together.

GreenLab hosts several cutting-edge companies, pioneering all manner of processes from plastics recycling to protein production. Since it was established in 2018, GreenLab has attracted over £160m of inward investment.

Main picture: architect’s impression of GreenLab; Schønherr

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