Norway could become a net exporter of the hydrogen used in fuel cell technology, an official with the research organisation SINTEF said Tuesday.
Speaking to an audience at ONS 2014, SINTEF vice president of marketing Steffen Moller-Holst said vast improvements in the performance, durability and cost of fuel cell technology over the past decade have made fuel cell batteries a viable option for transportation.
"We see a new era where both battery electric vehicles as well as hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles will dominate the roads," Moller-Holst said. "In Germany alone, they are building 50 hydrogen refueling stations by next year, and 100 by 2017."
Norway, which has five hydrogen refueling stations, is well poised to supply hydrogen produced by wind energy, he said.
"We have the potential to become a key player in this area, because we have one of the highest wind energy potentials in Europe – high wind speeds both onshore and offshore," Moller-Holst said.
While acknowledging the significant amount of investment necessary to harvest wind energy, he said Norway's experience in compressed gas transportation and liquefied natural gas tanker technology could be parlayed into an international export market for hydrogen generated by "stranded wind" projects.
"This knowledge and competence should be used for liquid hydrogen, which could become an international commodity in the near future," he said.
The hydrogen could be stored in salt caverns and liquefied for export, Moller-Holst said.
"If we really evolved our investments in the technology... we could export hydrogen by mixing hydrogen into existing pipelines to Europe, making this natural gas cleaner and greener. And if volume increases to a certain level, we could also discuss building pipelines for hydrogen for export to Europe."
He added: "We are a large exporter of oil and gas today. We could become a large exporter of renewable energy in the future."