New large offshore wind farms could feed a mega-hydrogen facility in Eemshaven as part of the NortH2 green hydrogen project, launched by Gasunie, Groningen Seaports and Shell Nederland.
Green hydrogen, produced with renewable sources such as wind and solar energy, is central to the Dutch Climate Accord and the European ‘Green Deal’. At present, the industry is already using large quantities of hydrogen, but this is mainly produced from natural gas. Replacement with green hydrogen contributes significantly to the decarbonisation of the industry. Hydrogen can act as an energy carrier to provide flexibility in the fluctuations in solar and wind energy.
The north of the Netherlands is well-positioned to become the centre of green hydrogen in the Netherlands and Northwest Europe. Cas König, CEO of Groningen Seaports: “We are already actively building the green industry of the future in the north of the Netherlands. An important part of industry in Delfzijl is already using hydrogen and the construction of Europe’s largest green hydrogen facility in our port city is imminent. Our target is to become Europe’s largest green hydrogen chain with the northern Netherlands at the centre.”
Green hydrogen production, initially in the Eemshaven and later possibly also offshore, is expected to be around 800,000 tonnes per year by 2040. This would avoid about seven megatonnes of CO2 per year.
The NortH2 project aims for the production of green hydrogen using renewable electricity generated by a mega offshore wind farm of 3 to 4 gigawatts in 2030, which can gradually grow to a capacity of about 10 gigawatts around 2040. The first ones could be ready in 2027 and will be used for green hydrogen production.
In addition, the plan provides for a large electrolyser in the Eemshaven, where wind energy is converted into green hydrogen. The consortium is also considering the possibilty of placing electrolysers offshore.
Finally, a smart transport network in the Netherlands and Northwest Europe is required to deliver the green hydrogen to mainly industry, and later possibly also to consumers.
In this project, Gasunie’s natural gas infrastructure – which is now mainly used for natural gas and green gas – is also used for the storage and large-scale transport of hydrogen from the northern Netherlands to the rest of the Netherlands and Northwest Europe.
NortH2 has the support of the province of Groningen and is looking for partners to expand the consortium and realise this project.The project is expected to start this year with the kick-off of a feasibility study. If the outcome is successful, the consortium hopes to produce the first hydrogen by 2027. According to the partners, the investments in NortH2 can create thousands of jobs in the northern Netherlands.
The start date of the first production depends, among other things, on permits from governments, the assignment of new wind farm locations in the North Sea, the available locations for the hydrogen facility/facilities and the final investment decisions of the parties concerned.
The realisation therefore partly depends on the contributions of various industrial and energy partners. NortH2’s partners anticipate that the initial project phases may potentially require European and national subsidies available for the decarbonisation of energy.