Shell eyeing 10GW of offshore wind to produce hydrogen

A consortium including oil and gas major Shell has launched plans to produce hydrogen using up to 10GW of “new” Dutch offshore wind to power 3-4GW of electrolysis capacity by 2040.

The planned offshore wind capacity would power electrolysers in the port of Eemshaven (pic: Groningen Seaports)
The planned offshore wind capacity would power electrolysers in the port of Eemshaven (pic: Groningen Seaports)

The NortH2 group, including Dutch gas grid operator Gasunie and port authority Groningen Seaports, aims to first transport the "green" hydrogen to industrial customers by 2027.

It plans to have 3-4GW of new offshore wind capacity dedicated to green hydrogen production by 2030, before scaling up to 10GW of offshore wind powering around 4GW of electrolysis by 2040.

The partners intend to use Gasunie’s existing natural gas infrastructure for storing and transporting the hydrogen.

But this network would be expanded in line with increases in offshore wind capacity, a Shell spokesman said.

By the end of this year, the group expects to complete a feasibility study on the new North Sea wind farms powering electrolysers in Eemshaven, north-east Netherlands.

It also plans to discuss how to navigate the relevant regulatory and policy frameworks with European, national, regional and local authorities.

If the project partners receive the necessary permits for the wind farms and hydrogen facilities, they could achieve first power and hydrogen production in 2027. 

The Shell spokesman could not confirm whether the 731.5MW Borssele III & IV wind farm — in which the oil and gas giant holds a 20% stake and due online in 2021 — would be included in the NortH2 project.

Similarly, he could not confirm whether any capacity Shell might be awarded in the Netherlands’ upcoming offshore wind tender might count towards the 3-4GW and 10GW targets.

He added that the project could eventually be expanded to use offshore wind farms and electrolysers in other countries in northern Europe. 

The NortH2 group is looking for new consortium members.

It believes the project could produce up to 800,000 tonnes of hydrogen annually by 2040, avoiding about seven megatonnes of CO2.

This is roughly equivalent to the Netherland's current hydrogen production total, according to the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research thinktank.

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