Düsseldorf Where coal electricity was still being produced two weeks ago, one of Europe’s largest electrolysers to date could be producing green hydrogen in five years: Together with the city of Hamburg, Shell, Vattenfall and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries want a Power-To-X system in the Moorburg district with an output of at least 100 megawatts.
On Friday, the consortium announced that a letter of intent had now been signed. “There is no better location in Hamburg for a scalable electrolyzer of this size. Via the 380 kV connection and the connection to Brunsbüttel, we have direct access to the supply of green electricity from wind power – and thus the possibility of actually producing green hydrogen in relevant quantities, ”said Michael Westhagemann, Senator for Economic Affairs for the Hanseatic city Statement.
Two years ago, the non-party politician announced that he would make Hamburg a stronghold for the German hydrogen economy. Together with Bremen, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein, Westhagemann presented the appropriate timetable for this in 2019. Five gigawatts of electrolysis capacity are to be created in the north by 2030. By the year 2035, an “almost complete supply” for industry and the transport sector should be guaranteed.
The necessary green electricity should come from wind turbines on land and at sea, of which there are far more in the five countries than in the rest of the republic combined. Cooperations with other countries are already planned – with Finland, Denmark and Norway, for example.
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The 100-megawatt project in the Port of Hamburg was already being planned back then – and it now seems to be coming. At that time, Westhagemann estimated the costs at a three-digit million amount. The plant should be up and running in 2025. The project partners are hoping for financial support primarily from Brussels.
They seek funding that the EU uses to launch projects of common European interest (IPCEI). The application for this is to be submitted with a first project outline in the first quarter. A final investment decision for the project is still pending.
From the point of view of the four partners, the location in Moorburg has ideal conditions for further use. It is connected to both the national electricity transmission network and the network of the city of Hamburg. In addition, overseas ships could dock there and use the quay and port facility as an import terminal. In addition to the construction of an electrolyser, a “Green Energy Hub” is to be created at the same time. Further concepts such as the necessary logistics chains and storage options for hydrogen should also be considered.
“The starting shot for the hydrogen future has been given”
“The gas pipeline network in the port and around Moorburg is now being expanded to include hydrogen in order to supply industry and large companies. The starting shot for the future of hydrogen has been fired, Hamburg wants to and will be at the forefront, ”said Jens Kerstan, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Wärme Hamburg on Friday.
Due to its climate neutrality, green hydrogen is an important building block for the success of the energy transition. If it is produced on the basis of green electricity using the electrolysis process, it is climate-neutral.
The sustainable gas is particularly popular for certain processes in which electricity from renewable sources cannot be used as a substitute for fossil raw materials or can only be used at extremely high cost.
Hydrogen could play an important role in industry, in heavy-duty, air and ship traffic, but also in the heating sector or as a medium for storing or transporting electricity from renewable sources.
Because there have only been pilot projects for the production of green hydrogen so far, the climate-neutral gas is still very expensive. If the step of a large-scale plant like the one planned in Hamburg-Moorburg succeeds, this could significantly reduce costs and make green hydrogen economical.
For many years, Moorburg was the location of a gas power plant operated by Hamburgische Electricitäts-Werke, and in 2015 Vattenfall put a coal-fired power plant into operation here. The Swedish group stopped commercial operations two weeks ago as part of the coal phase-out.
The power plant will be ready until the middle of the year so that it can supply electricity again in an emergency. Only when it is clear that the grid security is guaranteed even without the Moorburg power plant should it be shut down for good in July.
More: Evonik boss Kullmann calls for hydrogen openness: “We have to take off our green glasses”