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The Dutch province of Groningen has granted RWE a complete environmental permit for the construction of an electrolyser for the production of green hydrogen in the Groningen Eemshaven, in the Northern Netherlands. The next necessary steps for the success of the innovative project 'Eemshydrogen', which RWE has been developing since 2020, are a speedy connection to the hydrogen backbone (underground pipelines) and the granting of the necessary subsidy.
Editorial office / Geertruidenberg

The yet-to-be-built electrolyser will have a capacity of at least 50 megawatts and will be scaled up depending on further regulations and market developments. By connecting the electrolyser directly to RWE’s Westereems onshore wind farm, the production of green hydrogen is ensured and the electricity grid relieved. With the produced green hydrogen, more than 250,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions can be avoided over the entire life cycle.

Roger Miesen, CEO of RWE Generation SE: “It is important to speed up the development of green hydrogen in the Netherlands and Europe in order to be at the forefront of this global development. Green hydrogen is necessary for a successful energy transition and is important for the greening of industry because many production processes do not lend themselves to electrification. RWE has the knowledge and capabilities to play an important role in the production of green hydrogen.”

Renewable energy

The industry needs to go green, and affordable green hydrogen on a large scale is essential for that. RWE is in close contact with chemical companies like Evonik who want to invest in making their operations more sustainable. Robert Katzer, Head of Strategic Marketing at Evonik Active Oxygens: “We want to be climate neutral by 2040. This means replacing fossil fuels such as gas with renewable energy sources such as green hydrogen. That is why it is important to explore the possibilities of expanding the availability of green hydrogen together with expert suppliers such as RWE.”

Another company that wants to use green hydrogen is BioMCN, producer of (bio)methanol, part of OCI N.V. They also want to use green hydrogen to make their business processes more sustainable and thus produce green E-methanol for, among other things, sustainable shipping. In 2020, RWE already signed a letter of intent with OCI N.V. about the future supply of green hydrogen to BioMCN’s production site, as an important contribution to the economic feasibility of the Eemshydrogen project.

Speed up

The province of Groningen granted the environmental permit required for the construction of the electrolyser and, like RWE, wants to become a leader in the field of hydrogen in Europe. Hynetwork Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie, is responsible for the hydrogen backbone. This is a network of underground pipes that connects industries, hydrogen storage facilities and production locations in the Netherlands and neighbouring countries.

In addition to connection to the hydrogen backbone, subsidies are needed to close the financial gap between grey and green hydrogen and thus make the project economically viable. The government is working hard on mechanisms for this, and a quick opening of these is crucial for the success of the project.

Hydrogen Valley

The Northern Netherlands has been named Europe’s first Hydrogen Valley by the European Commission and RWE is determined to play an active role in the development of the hydrogen economy. RWE can develop the Eemshaven area into one of the leading energy and hydrogen hubs in Northwest Europe by combining smart technologies and solutions, such as this electrolyser, the existing RWE Eemshaven power plant and the Magnum power plant, which will be acquired from Vattenfall at the end of September. As part of the tender for the Hollandse Kust West VII offshore wind farm, RWE also wants to build electrolysis units with a total capacity of 600 megawatts. In this way, RWE actively supports the decarbonisation of the industry and at the same time gives the province of Groningen a solid position in the Dutch hydrogen economy.

RWE is expected to make a final investment decision for the project early next year, after which the production of green hydrogen can start in 2025. Besides the Eemshydrogen project, RWE is also working on the development of onshore and offshore hydrogen projects, such as H2opZee, NortH2 and FUREC, which all contribute to decarbonising the industry.

Image: RWE