British multinational oil and gas giant Shell will build Europe’s biggest plant that produces green hydrogen. The oil industry puts high hopes on hydrogen from renewable power as a crucial means to reducing CO2 emissions.
In a statement released on July 6, Shell said the Holland Hydrogen I facility – constructed in the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands – will include 200MW of electrolyzers, and will have the potential to produce as much as 60,000 kilograms (132277.36 pounds) of green hydrogen daily. Hollandse Kust Noord windfarm, which is owned partially by Shell, will produce the renewable power for the electrolyzer.
“Holland Hydrogen I demonstrates how new energy solutions can work together to meet society’s need for cleaner energy,” said Anna Mascolo, Executive Vice President, Emerging Energy Solutions at Shell. “It is also another example of Shell’s own efforts and commitment to become a net-zero emissions business by 2050. Renewable hydrogen will play a pivotal role in the energy system of the future and this project is an important step in helping hydrogen fulfill that potential.”
This new plant could have both local and global impact. As the Netherlands has committed to putting hydrogen at the forefront of its energy transition plan, many see Holland Hydrogen I as the basis for the future of a hydrogen economy in the region.
The Old Continent heavily relies on hydrogen as the key to decreasing both its emissions and its reliance on natural gas coming from Russia. Green hydrogen can replace fossil fuels in hard-to-abide industries such as heavy transportation, power generation and the production of chemicals.
And while Europe pins its hopes on green hydrogen, the technology has yet to achieve scalability. Spanish multinational electric utility company Iberdrola currently has Europe’s largest green hydrogen plant, with a 20 MW capacity.
The project’s finishing date is set to 2025 and Shell will supply the produced green hydrogen to the Shell Energy and Chemicals Park Rotterdam. Currently, this facility uses hydrogen produced from fossil fuels and by switching to clean hydrogen, it would lower its emissions from the production of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.
Currently, Shell operates about 10% of global installed hydrogen electrolyzer capacity with a 20 MW electrolyser in China that can produce 3,000 tonnes of hydrogen annually and a 10 MW proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyser in Germany that can produce 1,300 tonnes of hydrogen annually.