Shell 10GW offshore wind-to-hydrogen plan “should be possible” | RenewEconomy

Shell 10GW offshore wind-to-hydrogen plan “should be possible”

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Shell plans to develop Europe’s largest green hydrogen project powered by as much as 10GW of offshore wind reportedly gets tacit support from Netherlands government.

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Chemical Park Delfzijl with Eemshaven at the back
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A plan announced by British-Dutch oil major Shell last week to develop the Europe’s largest green hydrogen project powered by as much as 10GW of offshore wind has received tacit support from the Netherlands government, according to reports.

A consortium made up of Shell’s Netherlands subsidiary Shell Nederland, Dutch natural gas company Gasunie, and Dutch port authority Groningen Seaports announced last week plans for what they are calling Europe’s largest green hydrogen project.

The NortH2 project would combine the production of green hydrogen with a “mega” offshore wind farm – with a capacity of between 3GW to 4GW in 2030 and as much as 10GW by 2040.

Initial plans would see green hydrogen production take place in Eemshaven, a seaport in the northern province of Groningen, but could possibly move offshore, and generate around 800,000 tonnes of green hydrogen each year by 2040 – avoiding approximately seven megatonnes of CO2 annually.

In the original announcement, the consortium confirmed that the NortH2 project already has the support of the province of Groningen – and was actively looking for partners to help expand the project and realise the project.

But in comments to Recharge, Groningen Seaports chief executive Cas König explained that the Dutch government said “it would be possible to build it in this part of the Netherlands, in the Dutch territorial waters.”

The plan is based around the ambition of building “very significant wind farms in the North Sea” which the consortium hopes could grow to as big as 10GW – enough to meet the equivalent electricity needs of approximately 12.5 million Dutch households. First generation could come as soon as 2027.

The greater ambition, however, is to use a portion of the electricity generated from these “mega” wind farms to power a large electrolyser in Eemshaven to convert water into green hydrogen. The consortium is also considering the possibility of placing electrolysers offshore.

“Together, we are launching an ambition that puts the Netherlands at the forefront of hydrogen globally,” said Marjan van Loon, President-Director of Shell Nederland. “In addition, it contributes to achieving the objectives of the Dutch Climate Accord and accelerates the energy transition. This project offers opportunities throughout the entire hydrogen chain.

“In addition, it fits well with our New Energies aspirations and our ambitions to find new ways to reduce CO2 emisions and deliver more and cleaner energy, at home, on the go and at work. In order to realise this project, we will need several new partners. Together we will have to pioneer and innovate to bring together all the available knowledge and skills that are required. The energy transition calls for guts, boldness, and action.”

The consortium is planning to begin the project this year with a feasibility study which will start a chain of events which will hopefully lead to first hydrogen production and electricity generation in 2027.

“The Netherlands has a leading position in the shift to a hydrogen economy,” said Han Fennema, CEO Gasunie. “We have the North Sea for the production of wind, the ports as logistical hubs, and the industrial clusters that want to make the switch to green molecules and a suitable transport network.

“This comes together perfectly in the northern Netherlands at the Groningen Seaports where the conversion to hydrogen takes place, with storage in Zuidwending and an ambitious province. If we want to realise our climate ambitions, we must have large-scale infrastructure in good time. With these partners, and hopefully even more partners soon, we are helping the market to accelerate the transition to renewable energy.”

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