The Hydrogen Stream: Offshore hydrogen pipeline and more electrolysis capacity in Germany


Twelve companies have formed the Hamburg Hydrogen Network (Wasserstoffverbund Hamburg), submitting an application under the EU-wide ‘important projects of common European interest' (IPCEI) funding program, which would also allow for exemptions from the EU rules on state aid. The network is made up by Airbus, ArcelorMittal, Gasnetz Hamburg, GreenPlug, Hamburger Hafen und Logistik, Hamburg Port Authority, HADAG Seetouristik und Fährdienst, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Shell, Vattenfall, and Wärme Hamburg. “Financial support by the federal German government, under the IPCEI program, is necessary to implement this landmark interconnection project and close the price gap between green hydrogen and fossil solutions,” reads a statement released on Monday, explaining that the application includes nine projects. Shell, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Vattenfall and municipal company Wärme Hamburg are planning to produce hydrogen from wind and solar power at the Hamburg-Moorburg power plant site, deploying a scalable electrolyzer with an initial output of 100 MW. Additionally, apart from logistics and mobility solutions, the application includes a waste-to-hydrogen project and the reconversion of ArcelorMittal’s Hamburg plant to climate-neutral steel production by 2030.

German gas grid operator Gascade and Dutch gas provider Gasunie have teamed up with energy companies RWE and Shell to step up collaboration on the AquaDuctus project, the “first German offshore hydrogen pipeline.” The companies expect commissioning in 2035. AquaDuctus is taking part in the IPCEI process of the German government. “The AquaDuctus pipeline will transport green hydrogen from the North Sea directly to the continent. It is part of the AquaVentus initiative, which plans to install 10 GW of electrolysis capacity for green hydrogen production from offshore wind power between Heligoland and the Dogger sand bank,” reads a note released on Monday. The AquaDuctus project will first undergo a feasibility study.

Siemens Energy and Germany-based industrial gases company Messer Group signed a cooperation agreement to collaborate on green hydrogen projects in the 5 MW to 50 MW range, for industrial and mobility applications. Within the framework of this agreement, Messer Ibérica has presented, to the Spanish government, three green hydrogen projects at the Tarragona chemical complex, the largest chemical park in Spain. The total electrolyzer capacity is expected to total 70 MW. “We are focused on developing technologies that make our customers’ production processes safer, more efficient and eco-friendly, including clean hydrogen applications in industry and in mobility. Together with Siemens Energy, we will extend these advantages to industrial customers switching to green hydrogen produced by electrolysis,” Stefan Messer, owner and CEO of Messer Group, commented in the press release.

S&P Global Ratings published, last week, a report on the future of hydrogen, in which it singles out the sectors that will first embrace hydrogen: industrial gas, oil refining, chemical and, later, possibly, fertilizers. “Net zero commitments imply the full decarbonization of hard-to-abate sectors such as steel but using hydrogen to do so would be extremely costly. We therefore see steelmakers' credit quality as most at risk, since the sector's profitability has been weak for years,” reads the note published on Thursday.

Dutch energy and commodity trading company Vitol acquired a 10% equity interest in Gen2 Energy, a Norwegian producer of green hydrogen. The company didn’t disclose the details of the investment. Gen2 Energy aims to use Norway’s surplus hydroelectric power to produce green hydrogen, targeting the European market. “Work at the company’s initial site, in the north of Norway, is under way and, once complete, it will have a capacity of at least 80 MW, producing 11.7kt per annum of green hydrogen. Simultaneously, Gen2 Energy is developing a second green hydrogen facility in the south west of Norway, with an eventual capacity of 300 MW,” the company said.

Norway-based service company Aibel and hydrogen company Nel ASA entered into a framework agreement to develop renewable hydrogen projects. The first collaboration effort will be the delivery of the 20 MW PEM hydrogen production plant to Iberdrola, which was announced at the beginning of the year. “This partnership is a long-term commitment,” Jon André Løkke, CEO of Nel ASA, commented in a statement released on Monday. Aibel is also active in Dogger Bank.

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Brussels-headquartered materials technology company Umicore, and British mining company Anglo American, through its PGMs business Anglo American Platinum, announced a research and development collaboration agreement to develop PGM-based catalysts for liquid organic hydrogen carrier (LOHC) applications on fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and other mobile applications. “This catalyst technology has the potential to transform the way hydrogen can be stored and used to power FCEVs,” wrote Umicore in a press note published on Monday.

GH2, a developer of renewable hydrogen projects, and the Grand Port Maritime de Bordeaux, signed an agreement for the implementation of a €250 million renewable hydrogen production and conversion project in New Aquitaine. The project aims to produce up to 14,000 tons of renewable hydrogen per year. According to a note released on Thursday, it includes a 100 MWe alkaline electrolyser, two new, local, dedicated photovoltaic power plants, and an electrochemical plant. The project is located in the port area near Bordeaux, alongside the Garonne river.

South African integrated energy and chemical company Sasol, and Sonatrach Raffineria Italiana (SRI), a subsidiary of the national state-owned oil company of Algeria, formed a Temporary Association of Companies (ATI) to collaborate on developing hydrogen production projects in Sicily. “The petrochemical area of Syracuse can and must play a key role in the energy transition,” Rosario Pistorio, CEO of SRI, commented in a note released on Friday. According to the companies, Sicily could become an integrated hydrogen ecosystem, or ‘hydrogen valley.'

The Italian Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Association, which includes companies, research centers and universities, exceeded the 70-member threshold with a nearly 50% increase in members since the beginning of the year. “Making a common front and creating a unique network of collaboration is the only way to create a strong Italian supply chain, [a] leader also at international level,” Alberto Dossi, president of H2IT, commented in a note released on Monday.

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