Four Firms Looking to Develop Green Hydrogen Hub in Hamburg

January 22, 2021

Credit: MHI
Credit: MHI

Shell, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Vattenfall, and municipal company Wärme Hamburg are planning to jointly produce hydrogen from wind and solar power at the Hamburg-Moorburg power plant site and utilize it in its vicinity.  

In addition to the construction of a scalable electrolyzer with an initial output of 100 megawatts, the further development of the site into a so-called "Green Energy Hub" is planned. 

The plan includes the exploration of the extent to which the existing infrastructure of the Moorburg location can be used for the production of energy from renewable sources. 

In this context, concepts for the necessary logistics chains and storage options for hydrogen will also be considered. Subject to final investment decision and according to the current state of planning, once the site has been cleared, the production of green hydrogen is anticipated in the course of 2025 - making the electrolyzer one of the largest plants in Europe.

The partners plan to apply for funding under the EU program "Important Projects of Common European Interest" (IPCEI). This should take place in the first quarter of 2021 with the submission of a first outline of the project. 

For years, Moorburg was the site of a gas-fired power plant operated by Hamburgische Electricitäts-Werke, and Vattenfall had been operating a coal-fired power plant here since 2015. Its commercial operation was terminated after the power plant won a bid in the auction for the nationwide coal phase-out in December 2020. A decision by the transmission system operator on the system relevance of the plant is expected in March 2021. 

The City of Hamburg and Vattenfall are striving to clear areas of the site as soon as possible for the project to produce green hydrogen and the development of a Green Energy Hub.

"The four partner companies view the energy location as having ideal conditions for further use. It is connected to both the national 380,000 volt transmission network and the 110,000 volt network of the City of Hamburg. In addition, overseas ships can call at the location directly and use the quay and port facilities as an import terminal," the companies said in a statement.

The municipal gas network company also intends to expand a hydrogen network in the port within ten years and is already working on the necessary distribution infrastructure.

Further, the partners say that numerous potential customers for green hydrogen are located near the site, enabling the project to cover the entire hydrogen value chain - from generation to storage, transport and utilization in various sectors. 

With these prerequisites, the Moorburg location is optimal for the German federal state of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and Northern Germany and can become a potential starting point for the development of a hydrogen economy, the partners say.

Jens Kerstan, Chairman of the Supervisory Boards of Wärme Hamburg GmbH and Gasnetz Hamburg GmbH as well as the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg's Minister for the Environment and Energy: "This project will be a major lever for reaching our climate goals. The gas pipeline networks in the port and around Moorburg are now being expanded to accommodate hydrogen and to facilitate supplies to industry and large businesses. Our hydrogen future is now taking shape, and Hamburg intends to be at the forefront here. The Hamburg Senate supports these efforts, and Hamburg's public companies play a decisive role in this."

Fabian Ziegler, CEO of Shell in Germany: "In the future, green hydrogen will play a very important role in the energy system and therefore also for us. We keep an eye on the development of the entire value chain for hydrogen; from the entry into electricity production from offshore wind to the expansion of capacities for green hydrogen production as well as to the supply for mobility or transport applications and other industries. To achieve this, we need to and we want to collaborate with strong partners. We consider this project of the consortium of four together with the city of Hamburg to be exemplary."
 



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