Europe’s Largest Green Hydrogen Project Proposed

Published Feb 29, 2020 4:25 PM by The Maritime Executive

A consortium of Gasunie, Groningen Seaports and Shell Nederland have announced their intention to launch the NortH2 project: Europe's largest green hydrogen project using renewable electricity generated by a mega offshore wind farm.

The wind farm will initially be three to four gigawatts in 2030, and it is anticipated to grow to about 10 gigawatts by 2040. Green hydrogen production is expected to be around 800,000 tonnes per year by 2040, initially in the Eemshaven and later possibly also offshore in the North Sea. This would avoid about seven megatonnes of CO2 per year and be sufficient to meet the current electricity consumption of 12.5 million Dutch households. 

The plan calls for a large electrolyzer in the Eemshaven where wind energy is converted into green hydrogen. The consortium is also considering the possibility of placing electrolyzers offshore. A smart transport network in the Netherlands and Northwest Europe would be required to deliver the 800,000 tonnes of green hydrogen mainly to industry and later possibly also to consumers. Gasunie’s natural gas infrastructure – which is now mainly used for natural gas and green gas – is also used for the storage and transport of hydrogen.

The partners highlight that because there are fluctuations in solar and wind energy, it is important to convert their output into other energy carriers, such as hydrogen. Using the latest technologies, hydrogen is relatively easy and safe to produce and can be stored easily, unlike electricity.

The project is expected to start this year with a feasibility study. If the outcome is successful, the consortium hopes to produce the first hydrogen by 2027. 

NortH2 has the support of the province of Groningen and is looking for partners to expand the consortium and realize this project. Green hydrogen, produced using renewable energy, is central to the Dutch Climate Accord and the European Green Deal, say the partners. At present, industry is already using large quantities of hydrogen, but this mainly produced from natural gas.

Han Fennema, CEO of Gasunie, said: “The Netherlands has a leading position in the shift to a hydrogen economy. We have the North Sea for the production of wind, the ports as logistical hubs, and the industrial clusters that want to make the switch to green molecules and a suitable transport network. This comes together perfectly in the northern Netherlands at the Groningen Seaports where the conversion to hydrogen takes place, with storage in Zuidwending and an ambitious province. If we want to realize our climate ambitions, we must have large-scale infrastructure in good time. With these partners, and hopefully even more partners soon, we are helping the market to accelerate the transition to renewable energy.”