Norwegian environmental group Bellona is broadly positive about Equinor's proposal for a potential blue hydrogen pipeline and carbon capture and storage (CCS) initiatives, though it does have some concerns.
Frederic Hauge, who heads the campaign group, said: “Hydrogen and CCS can make sense if Equinor manages to find large industrial customers in Europe on long-term contracts.
"Blue hydrogen might also have to act as a buffer until (green) hydrogen from cheaper solar power becomes available in sufficient scale.”
He believes that industry, politicians and stakeholders should ensure a comprehensive cost benefit analysis of all the climate-driven initiatives in Norway.
Bellona owns 20% of a Norwegian battery producer called Morrow — which plans to build a large car battery factory in Arendal, Norway — with Hauge arguing that hydrogen does not stand a chance against battery technology for road transport.
He believes that the costs of solar power will drop steeply, while offshore wind might struggle to reduce costs further, especially if the price of raw materials continues to increase.
Speaking to Upstream at the Arendalsuka event last week, Hauge also cautioned that blue hydrogen produced from gas, combined with CCS, will eventually lose out, price-wise against solar.
Earlier this summer, Bellona urged Germany not to use existing wind power in the country for hydrogen production, in what they called a cannibalisation of the Energiwende (Germany’s energy transition plan).
Electrolytic hydrogen production processes require large amounts of electricity but appear crucial to the European Union's long-term strategy in the coming decades and may become a huge driver in growing demand for electricity.