Uniper and Port of Rotterdam move forward with green hydrogen plant
The energy company Uniper has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Rotterdam Port Authority to develop the production of green hydrogen at the current Uniper site in Maasvlakte. The project builds on the findings of a feasibility study announced in February and aligns with regional infrastructure planning to meet the demands of Rotterdam’s burgeoning petrochemical industry.
Uniper says the MOU marks a major step in the development of the hydrogen value chain in the Rijnmond region. No less than half of all Dutch hydrogen projects that qualify as Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) are developed in Rotterdam, and the Uniper project is also on the Dutch IPCEI shortlist.
The feasibility study shows that Uniper’s location on Maasvlakte is ideal for large-scale production of green hydrogen using energy generated by offshore wind farms. The plant will be connected to the future HyTransport.RTM hydrogen pipeline, which will be connected to the rest of the port, the national hydrogen infrastructure and the Delta Corridor pipeline bundle. The latter will supply hydrogen to groups of chemical plants in Moerdijk, Geleen and North Rhine-Westphalia.
Uniper’s site in Maasvlakte is currently home to a modern coal-fired power plant, which just opened in 2016. The Dutch coal ban law will force the plant to close by January 1, 2030, well before the end of its expected commercial life. that a conversion of the installation to a different fuel is not realistic. The company sought compensation from the Dutch government for the loss of its investment in the plant and filed a lawsuit challenging the legitimacy of the law. In the longer term, it plans to green its activities and achieve carbon neutrality by 2035.
“The industry needs to undergo a radical change to make its business processes more sustainable,” said Allard Castelein, CEO of the Rotterdam Port Authority. “Hydrogen will play a central role in this process. We are working with partners to introduce a large scale hydrogen network across the port complex, making Rotterdam an international hub for the production and import of hydrogen and for the transit of hydrogen to other countries in northwestern Europe. “
Industrial hydrogen is mainly produced from natural gas, resulting in CO2 emissions of 19 million tonnes per year in the Netherlands. Industry in the Rotterdam region consumes around 40% of the country’s total hydrogen production, so the transition from gray to green hydrogen in Rotterdam’s oil industry could be an important step towards carbon neutrality.
The plant’s initial target is 100 MW of electrolysis capacity, with a future capacity increase to 500 MW. After a nine month engineering and design study, the project will be tendered for an EPC contractor. Uniper plans to seek financial support from government agencies and other partners in the hydrogen value chain, with the goal of making a final investment decision next year.
“There are a multitude of opportunities, not only for Uniper but also for other players in the chain. Together, we can use sustainable hydrogen to dramatically reduce CO2 levels in Rotterdam, ”said Axel Wietfeld, CEO of Uniper Hydrogen.