Tech

Uniper wants to obtain environmentally friendly hydrogen in Rotterdam

The German energy company Uniper wants to generate green hydrogen in Rotterdam. The environmentally friendly energy required for this would come from wind farms in the North Sea. A corresponding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has now been signed by Uniper and the Port of Rotterdam Authority. The green hydrogen should reduce the CO2– Significantly reduce emissions in Rotterdam. A feasibility study is already available.

The location of the electrolysis plant would be the artificial island of Maasvlakte, where Uniper already operates two power plants that run on coal and biomass or natural gas. The hydrogen plant would according to the plan Pumping hydrogen into a pipeline that runs through the port of Rotterdam. According to Uniper, industrial plants in Rotterdam use 77 petajoules of hydrogen per year.

The port pipeline, in turn, will be connected to the national hydrogen infrastructure of the Netherlands, as well as the planned Delta Corridor project. This line would pump hydrogen to chemical plants in Moerdjik and Geleen and subsequently across the border to North Rhine-Westphalia. In this way, Uniper’s hydrogen could also reach German customers.

The first expansion stage of the electrolysis plant is planned to have an output of 100 megawatts, a later expansion should increase this to 500 MW. What is missing is another study (front-end engineering & design), regulatory approvals and subsidies. Uniper would now like to start negotiations with the Dutch authorities in order to be able to make a final decision on the investment next year.

In principle, well-known subsidies are possible, as the project is on the IPCEI list (Important Projects of Common European Interest) of the European Union. Member states may also support such “important projects”.

At the same time, Uniper is raising billions against the Dutch state in a related area: as recently as 2016 Uniper on the Massvlakte its coal-biomass power plant completed. According to the company, it meets “the world’s highest technical standards”, but it cannot be converted economically to other energy sources.

Three years after the commissioning was approved, the Netherlands passed a coal phase-out law as part of their energy transition, according to which coal-based power generation must end by 2029 at the latest. Compensation for the owners of power plants that are then worthless is not provided.

How market competitor RWE feels too Uniper wrongly expropriated and sued. An exchange of any compensation claims for subsidies could spur the investment decision.

Rotterdam is an important energy hub in Western Europe. The European Union obtains around one eighth of its energy sources from the port of Rotterdam. By 2050, the port of CO2-work neutrally. For the year, the port management expects to convert around 20 million tons of hydrogen. Uniper would like to have CO as early as 20352– operate neutrally.


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