The Hydrogen Stream: Ineos to invest £25m in HydrogenOne fund as Shell fires up its 10 MW electrolyzer


British chemicals company Ineos will buy 25 million shares in the planned float of U.K. green-and-blue-hydrogen-focused investment fund HydrogenOne – in the process generating around 10% of the hoped-for £250 million (€292 million) proceeds. The investment will give Ineos the right to appoint a non-executive director to the board.

“Our experience in storage and handling of hydrogen, combined with our established knowhow in electrolysis technology, puts us in a unique position to drive progress towards a carbon-free future based on hydrogen,” said Ineos chairman Brian Gilvary in a note released yesterday.

The HydrogenOne fund, established 14 months ago by an analyst and an engineer, is expected to invest in mainly private assets and has already identified 36 potential opportunities. Ineos is, reportedly, Europe’s largest electrolysis operator and hydrogen producer, and makes around 400,000 tons of the gas annually, mainly as a co-product from its chemical manufacturing. The U.K. government wants 5 GW of ‘low-carbon hydrogen' production by 2030.

Joining forces

Stefano Geuna, rector of the University of Turin, and Guido Saracco, his peer at the city's polytechnic, have agreed to cooperate on hydrogen. Research is under way to identify sites for the storage of large quantities of the fuel, and to prove the economic rationale of the large-scale use of hydrogen for the seasonal storage of renewable energy – referred to as ‘power-to-power' or ‘P2P'.

“The use of hydrogen in energy storage systems for large sizes and long durations (power-to-power or P2P systems) is one of the most interesting prospects of use at the international level,” stated a press release about the cooperation agreement, released yesterday. “The REMOTE project, funded by Horizon2020 [an EU research fund] and coordinated by the Politecnico di Torino, and conducted together with 10 European partners, aims to demonstrate the economic and technical sustainability of energy storage systems.”

The EU-funded ‘remote-area energy supply with multiple options for integrated, hydrogen-based technologies' (REMOTE) project, aims to demonstrate the effectiveness of two fuel-cell based hydrogen energy storage systems for use in off-grid areas.

Hot air

Meanwhile, Italian politicians are discussing whether to adopt additional measures to support green hydrogen but have not found common ground to date.

Energy company Shell has started its 10 MW polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) hydrogen electrolysis plant at the Wesseling site of its Rheinland refinery, near Cologne. The plant, which opened last week after a two-year construction project, is the largest of its kind in Europe. “As part of the Refhyne European consortium, and with European Commission funding through the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), the fully operational plant is the first to use this technology at such a large scale in a refinery,” stated a note released by Shell on Friday.


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Shell, which has laid plans to expand the electrolyzer's capacity to 100 MW and said a ‘Refhyne II' facility could be ready in 2024, also plans to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) using renewable energy and biomass at the site. “Shell wants to become a leading supplier of green hydrogen for industrial and transport customers in Germany,” said the Anglo-Dutch company's downstream director, Huibert Vigeveno. “We will be involved in the whole process, from power generation, using offshore wind, to hydrogen production and distribution across sectors.”

The consortium behind the project also includes U.K.-based PEM electrolyzer manufacturer ITM Power, Norwegian state-owned research institute SINTEF, and two consultants: Chicago-based Sphera, and Element Energy, which is based in Cambridge, England.

The electrolyzer was made in Sheffield, England, and includes components from Italy, Sweden, Spain and Germany.

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“Today, 30% of German demand for hydrogen already comes from North Rhine-Westphalia's industry. Estimates predict that demand will double by 2030,” said the state's minister-president Armin Laschet, who is also hotly tipped to be Germany's next chancellor, after September's election.

The Enova funding agency owned by the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment, on Friday announced its support for Hydrogenious LOHC Maritime, a joint venture set up by Norwegian offshore vessel operator Johannes Østensjø, and Germany’s Hydrogenious LOHC Technologies. Enova will provide NOK26 million (€2.55 million) for the JV's initial ‘HyNjord' project.

Shipping forecast

“The aim is to develop and market emission-free liquid organic hydrogen carrier (LOHC)-based applications for shipping, having a commercial product ready for operation from 2025,” said a note on Friday. The joint venture is focused on on-board LOHC and fuel cell propulsion systems on a megawatt scale. “German-based Hydrogenious LOHC Technology GmbH has developed and patented the LOHC technology for … particularly safe, easy and efficient storage and transportation of hydrogen, which will revolutionize the supply chain for hydrogen,” added the note.

Russian prime minister Mikhail Mishustin, and minister of trade and industry Denis Manturov, attended the Innoprom 2021 International Industrial Trade Fair in Yekaterinburg yesterday. “We toured the fair and the stands dedicated to hydrogen energy and robotics, and saw products developed by enterprises from the Sverdlovsk region, the Rostec Corporation, the Almaz-Antey Concern and many other companies,” said Mishustin. “We have things to offer to our international partners.”

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