RWE, Neptune Energy Develop Green Hydrogen Production Hub for Dutch North Sea

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RWE and Neptune Energy have signed a joint development agreement to develop the H2opZee offshore green hydrogen demonstration project.

H2opZee is a demonstration project that aims at building 300 MW to 500 MW of electrolyzer capacity far out in the Dutch North Sea, in order to produce green hydrogen by using offshore wind. The hydrogen will then be transported to land through an existing pipeline. The pipeline has a capacity of 10 GW to 12 GW, so it is already suitable for the further rollout of green hydrogen production to gigawatt scale in the North Sea.

The project is an initiative of TKI Wind op Zee, an initiative supported by the Dutch government that brings people, knowledge and financing together to realize the offshore energy transition.

The intention is to start the feasibility study in the second quarter 2022.

“Hydrogen is a gamechanger in the decarbonization of energy-intensive sectors, and H2opZee is among the world’s first projects of this kind and scale,” says Sven Utermöhlen, CEO of offshore wind at RWE Renewables. “With Neptune Energy at our side, we want to develop the H2opZee project to demonstrate how offshore wind can be an ideal partner for the production of green hydrogen at scale, and to explore the best approaches to system integration.”

H2opZee consists of two phases. In the first phase, a feasibility study will be carried out and an accessible knowledge platform set up. The objective of this is to start the roll-out of hydrogen at sea in the Netherlands. In the second phase, the project will actually be implemented. For that phase, a tender methodology has yet to be defined.

“As RWE, we have a 20-year track record in offshore wind and have the hydrogen expertise along the entire value chain under one roof,” continues Utermöhlen. “We are convinced that learnings from the H2opZee demonstration project will help in ramping-up the hydrogen economy in the Netherlands, as it presents an important step towards the roll-out of large-scale green hydrogen production offshore.”

“We see an important role for green hydrogen in the future energy supply,” states Lex de Groot, managing director of Neptune Energy in the Netherlands. “It can be produced in our own North Sea. The energy transition can be faster, cheaper and cleaner if we integrate existing gas infrastructure into new systems. This infrastructure is technically suitable. As a result, for example, no new pipeline at sea is needed and no new landfall needs to be made through the coastal area.”

“With the PosHYdon pilot we are one of the leaders in this field of offshore energy system integration and reuse,” continues de Groot. “The lessons learned from this project apply to H2opZee. The faster we can scale up green hydrogen at sea, the faster industry such as chemicals and steel production can become more sustainable. With H2opZee the Netherlands is becoming a world leader in this area. That is why we, together with RWE, are enthusiastic about H2opZee and what it has to offer the Netherlands.”

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