German alliance formed to boost hydrogen supply

Seven companies involved in Germany’s energy sector have formed an alliance to transport clean hydrogen to industrial centres.

BP and Uniper are planning various projects in Wilhelmshaven for the import and production of hydrogen, while Gasunie, Nowega, NWO and Thyssengas are contributing existing transport pipelines as well as plans for new hydrogen pipelines to be built.

A north-south corridor between Wilhelmshaven and the Cologne chemical industry region and a west-east corridor extending between Wilhelmshaven and Salzgitter will be used to link up other companies to the hydrogen infrastructure in the Rhine-Ruhr region and in Salzgitter (Lower Saxony) – in addition to the hydrogen consumption sites of the BP and Salzgitter companies.

BP and Uniper both intend to build an ammonia import terminal at the Wilhelmshaven site. The imported ammonia supplied is then to be broken down into hydrogen and nitrogen on site by a thermo-chemical process (cracking), thereby recovering the green hydrogen bound in the ammonia.

Uniper is also planning to build a large-scale electrolysis plant in Wilhelmshaven, which will produce green hydrogen harnessing offshore wind power from the North Sea. Both BP and Uniper have submitted their projects to the European Commission as Projects of Mutual Interest (PMI) and Projects of Common Interest (PCI), respectively. 

A decision on recognition is expected to be made this year.

The infrastructure operators Nowega and NWO are also contributing parts of their existing pipeline network to the alliance.

Patrick Wendeler, chairman of the Board of BP Europa said: “BP is supporting the German government’s goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2045. Therefore, we are committed to investing in the production, import, and shareable infrastructure for hydrogen in Germany – not only to supply our own production processes, but also to meet the fundamental demand for green hydrogen from mobility and industrial customers.”

Hans Jonk, managing director of Gasunie Energy Development added: “Our Hyperlink project will be further expanded into a powerful network with partners who are jointly tackling one of the most challenging tasks we are currently facing: the transformation of the German and European economy to climate neutrality. Together, we are building a functioning hydrogen economy and we are inviting other interested parties to join in the efforts.”

Germany wants to build 10 gigawatts of green hydrogen capacity, made from solar and wind power, by 2030 and import massive volumes from overseas to help industries such as steelmaking or cement replace millions of tonnes of polluting ‘grey’ hydrogen, sourced from fossil fuels.