Oilfield & Energies

AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals joins green hydrogen partnership

AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals, a subsidiary of Dutch paint and coatings giant AkzoNobel, has joined a Swedish research project looking at the potential of using hydrogen to store excess renewable electricity. AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals announced its involvement in the project last week. The scheme will explore the potential for converting renewable electricity into green hydrogen or ‘electrofuels’ – synethetic fuels based on electricity, water, and CO2 which can form the basis of feedstock for the manufacturing of chemicals.

The Swedish project is being run in partnership with  RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, forestry group Södra and packaging materials company BillerudKorsnäs, with support from the Swedish Energy Agency.  It aims to help Sweden further its goal of relying on just renewables for electricity by 2040, by developing technology to help the country smooth peaks and troughs in generation, while also providing green manufacturing materials.

“The interest in hydrogen for energy purposes as well as its application in the process industry has grown in the last few years,” explained Anna-Karin Jannasch, focus area manager for industrial transformation at RISE. “As a state-owned research institute RISE aims to ensure the international competitiveness of Sweden’s business community while contributing to a sustainable society, and this project is a good example of how we work as an innovation partner to industry.”

In September 2017, AkzoNobel said all its Dutch paint would be made using green electricity, as part of its plan to 100% powered by renewables by 2050. But as a major electricity consumer, the company is also keen to accelerate the development of grid stabilizing technologies seen as vital to enable high penetration of renewables on national energy grids.

Alongside the Swedish project, AkzoNobel is also collaborating with Dutch gas network operator Gasunieon on converting renewable electricity to hydrogen on a mass scale, with a target of producing 3,000 tons of green hydrogen a year.  

“Renewable energy and bio-based and recycled raw materials allows us to further reduce our environmental footprint and to meet customer needs for more sustainable products,” Emma Ringström, sustainability manager of pulp and performance chemicals at AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals, said. “But to really drive change in the industry and society it is key to collaborate with like-minded business in and outside the value chain.”