Germany funds offshore wind-green hydrogen pilot

Government-backed pilot will chart course of Germany's first offshore wind-powered electrolyser

The 30MW pilot electrolyser will be built at Heide's refinery (above) in Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany
The 30MW pilot electrolyser will be built at Heide's refinery (above) in Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany

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The German government has funded a pilot project that will inform development of the country’s first offshore wind-to-green hydrogen project.

It has provided €30 million to the Westküste 100 consortium – which consists of ten project partners, including Ørsted and EDF Energy – to help decarbonise the heavy industry and transport sectors in north-west Germany.

The investment comes after Germany approved its hydrogen strategy in June, including plans to incentivise 5GW of green hydrogen output by 2030.

Government funding enables the Westküste 100 group to start the first phase of their project: building a 30MW pilot electrolyser and assessing how it works, as well as developing plans for a 700MW electrolyser.

The consortium has formed a new joint venture (JV) – H2 Westküste GmbH, which consists of EDF Germany, Ørsted and German oil refiners Raffinerie Heide – to build the 30MW electrolyser at the Heide refinery in Schleswig Holstein. The new JV will assess which renewable electricity sources provide the best solution for green hydrogen production, it stated.

However, the consortium plans to use output from an as-yet unspecified offshore wind farm to power the planned 700MW electrolyser.

Volker Malmen, managing director for Ørsted in Germany, said: “Only offshore wind can provide such a reliable renewable source of green power for the electrolysis. This requires that the expansion of renewables and offshore wind power is balanced with the increased demand for hydrogen production.”

In the first phase of the project, the new H2 Westküste JV will also test the transportation of transporting hydrogen through both new and existing gas pipelines, and also gather information on the operation, maintenance, control and grid services of the plant.

The H2 Westküste JV has not yet made a final investment decision on the first-phase project, but aims to commission the 30MW electrolyser in 2023.

The larger Westküste 100 consortium consists of Ørsted, EDF Energy, Holcim Germany, OGE, Raffinerie Heide, Stadtwerke Heide, Thüga and Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions, together with the Region Heide Development Agency and the Fachhochschule Westküste (West Coast University of Applied Sciences).

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