RWE and innogy have confirmed that, with offshore wind's potential in mind, they are examining the feasibility of large-scale production of green hydrogen in the province of Groningen in the Netherlands.
As a first step, the companies are starting a feasibility study to build a 100 MW hydrogen plant on the site of RWE’s Eemshaven power station. This is close to innogy’s Westereems onshore windfarm, which will supply the green electricity. In the medium-term they see potential to use electricity from offshore windfarms in Dutch waters to produce green hydrogen.
innogy SE chief operating officer renewables Hans Bünting said, “With the current Dutch offshore wind ambitions, conversion of large volumes of surplus wind power into a storable commodity like green hydrogen can be a cost effective solution for society, large energy consumers and other industrial users of hydrogen.
“As a major player in offshore and onshore wind we believe we should start investigating power-to-hydrogen. Learning experiences are necessary and our Westereems windfarm is a perfect fit for a large-scale demonstration project.”
RWE Generation SE chief executive Roger Miesen said, “CO2 reduction targets in transport, heating and industry can only be achieved if the sector coupling is promoted and emission-free energy sources are used. We are convinced that green hydrogen will be an important component of a clean energy supply for these sectors.”
With 52 turbines, the 100 MW Westereems windfarm, which is next to the Eemshaven power station, is one of the largest onshore windfarms in the Netherlands.
Green hydrogen can help to reduce CO2 emissions well beyond the electricity sector, RWE and Innogy believe. “For energy-intensive industries like steel, chemicals or cement, green hydrogen will be an important step to decarbonisation. In addition to reducing CO2 emissions in industrial processes, hydrogen could become a sustainable fuel for the transport sector, or for residential heating.”
Offshore wind developer Ørsted recently submitted a bid for the Hollandse Kust (Zuid) III and IV offshore windfarms in the Netherlands that included green hydrogen projects based on power from them.
The International Energy Agency says the world has an important opportunity to tap into green hydrogen produced using electricity from renewables such as wind and solar PV.
In the UK, the Offshore Wind Industry Council has started work on a project to ensure the UK’s low-carbon energy system makes the best use of the increasingly large proportion of electricity generated from renewable sources, including offshore wind.
The new research project, Solving the Integration Challenge, is a key part of the landmark Offshore Wind Sector Deal announced by Government and industry in March. A wide-ranging group of experts and business leaders will examine how the UK can continue to decarbonise by building a reliable modern energy system, managing variability of demand and supply based on renewable technologies, with offshore wind playing a leading role. The group will publish a road map identifying pioneering techniques, such as using electricity from offshore wind to generate and store hydrogen as a power source.