RWE and Equinor have announced their intention to participate in the NortH2 consortium, a group of companies hoping to create a large-scale green hydrogen pathway in northwest Europe, based in the northern Netherlands
Apart from Equinor and RWE, the partners in the NortH2 project include Shell, gas network operator Gasunie and the port of Groningen Seaports. Together, the members of the consortium intend to jointly establish a green hydrogen supply chain based on offshore windfarms, electrolysers, gas storage and pipelines. The green hydrogen produced would be transported to industrial clusters in north-western Europe.
The consortium aims to create green hydrogen generation capacity of 4 GW by 2030 and play an important role in achieving an EU target of at least 40 GW of hydrogen electrolysers in Europe by the same date.
By 2040, the capacity of NortH2 is expected to grow to in excess of 10 GW – enough capacity to produce 1M tonnes of green hydrogen per year. This would mitigate 8 to 10M tonnes of CO2 per year.
The NortH2 partners are currently conducting a feasibility study that will last until 2021. Subject to a positive outcome, initial development activity could begin in H2 2021.
Equinor chief executive Anders Opedal described NortH2 as a “ground-breaking project” that will be “an important part of our effort to build a competitive position in hydrogen.”
Equinor executive vice president new energy solutions Pål Eitrheim said, “NortH2 fits well with Equinor’s experience and position as a leading offshore wind operator. Hydrogen will add to the competitiveness of renewables in the years to come, by adding value and an alternative route to market.”
In a statement, RWE said it holds positions along the entire value chain for green hydrogen. RWE Renewables is the world’s second-largest developer of offshore wind and will supply renewable electricity to power electrolysers for hydrogen production. Another part of the company, RWE Generation, has the know-how to produce green hydrogen. RWE Gas Storage can store hydrogen, and energy trading company RWE Supply & Trading can supply green hydrogen to industrial customers.
Apart from NortH2, RWE is already active in several green hydrogen projects around Europe, including the AquaVentus project off the coast of Heligoland in the German North Sea, where the company and its partners also aim to produce green hydrogen using offshore wind energy, with the island of Heligoland serving as a central hub. Last week at the WindTV conference, RWE Renewables confirmed that the company intends to conduct a pilot project at Heligoland in which it will install electrolysers in the base of two offshore wind turbines.
RWE Generation chief executive Roger Miesen said, “A project like NortH2, which produces green hydrogen to decarbonise industry, can contribute to achieving Dutch and European climate targets for 2030 and to implement the Paris agreement. We are committed to ensuring that a hydrogen market can develop rapidly in Europe.”