Dutch Trio Reveals Offshore Wind to Hydrogen Mega Project

A consortium of Gasunie, Groningen Seaports, and Shell Nederland has revealed plans to launch a project to use electricity generated at large offshore wind farms in the Dutch North Sea to produce hydrogen.

Groningen Seaports/Illustration

The NortH2 project partners aim to generate around 3GW to 4 GW of wind energy for the production of hydrogen before 2030, and possibly raise the capacity to 10GW by 2040.

The project is expected to start this year with the kick-off of a feasibility study. If the outcome is successful, the consortium hopes to produce the first hydrogen by 2027.

This depends, among other things, on permits from governments, the assignment of new wind farm locations in the North Sea, the available locations for the hydrogen facility/facilities and the final investment decisions of the parties concerned, the project partners said.

The realisation therefore partly depends on the contributions of various industrial and energy partners, the developers said. NortH2’s partners anticipate that the initial project phases may potentially require European and national subsidies available for the decarbonisation of energy.

Green hydrogen production, initially in the Eemshaven and later possibly also offshore, is expected to be around 800,000 tonnes per year by 2040, the developers said. NortH2 has the support of the province of Groningen and is looking for partners to expand the consortium and realise this project.

“This project offers opportunities throughout the entire hydrogen chain,” Marjan van Loon, President-Director of Shell Nederland.

”In addition, it fits well with our New Energies aspirations and our ambitions to find new ways to reduce CO2 emisions and deliver more and cleaner energy, at home, on the go and at work. In order to realise this project, we will need several new partners. Together we will have to pioneer and innovate to bring together all the available knowledge and skills that are required. The energy transition calls for guts, boldness, and action.”

Finally, a smart transport network in the Netherlands and Northwest Europe is required to deliver the 800,000 tonnes of green hydrogen to mainly industry, and later possibly also to consumers, according to the consortium. In this project, Gasunie’s natural gas infrastructure – which is now mainly used for natural gas and green gas – is also used for the storage and transport of hydrogen.

“The Netherlands has a leading position in the shift to a hydrogen economy,” Han Fennema, CEO of Gasunie, said.

”We have the North Sea for the production of wind, the ports as logistical hubs, and the industrial clusters that want to make the switch to green molecules and a suitable transport network. This comes together perfectly in the northern Netherlands at the Groningen Seaports where the conversion to hydrogen takes place, with storage in Zuidwending and an ambitious province. With these partners, and hopefully even more partners soon, we are helping the market to accelerate the transition to renewable energy.”