Chemicals giant BASF and RWE have presented a project to build a 2 GW offshore wind farm that would power BASF’s chemical site in Ludwigshafen, Germany, and enable CO2-free production of hydrogen.
No public subsidies would be needed for the construction of the wind farm, which is already in the planning stage, the companies said.
The wind farm would be built in the German part of the North Sea.
The aim of the project is to electrify the production processes for basic chemicals, which are currently based on fossil fuels.
This will involve utilizing CO2-free technologies such as electrically heated steam cracker furnaces to produce petrochemicals. BASF is already working with partners on developing these technologies.
To advance the joint project, the CEOs of BASF and RWE have signed a letter of intent covering a wide-ranging cooperation for the creation of additional capacities for renewable electricity and the use of innovative technologies for climate protection.
”Together we want to accelerate the transition to a CO2-neutral chemical industry through electrification and through the use of CO2-free hydrogen,” said Dr. Martin Brudermüller (BASF) and Dr. Markus Krebber (RWE).
Michael Vassiliadis, Chairman of the Mining, Chemical and Energy Industries Union (IG BCE), who was present at the project presentation, said ”Here, two strong partners are making climate-friendly transformation and energy transition tangible and concrete. We stand behind this major project because it can be a symbol for the innovative power of industry and its employees. In many places, they are working with great passion and expertise to shape the transformation. They deserve all the support they can get.”
These plans could result in the avoidance of around 3.8 million metric tons of CO2 emissions per year, of which 2.8 million tons would be realized directly at BASF in Ludwigshafen, the companies said. It shows very clearly how climate protection and competitiveness can be harmonized in the chemical industry.
”Coupling a new offshore wind farm already in the planning stage to an industrial customer such as BASF, who will convert its production to green electricity and hydrogen on this basis, would be a first for Germany,” Krebber said.
”The realization of our proposal would represent a true acceleration of the expansion of renewable energies. Of course, there are still some open questions, but we want to push this forward – the faster, the better. This is how we will shape the energy transition.”
More Offshore Wind Auctions Needed
German policymakers have said they plan to significantly increase the expansion targets for renewable energies and accelerate capacity additions.
For this to succeed, there will need to be a tendering process for offshore project sites where the current plans only foresee use after 2030.
The companies instigate that these sites should be specifically designated for tenders focused on industrial transformation processes.
Another important factor: Green electricity should not be subject to EEG levy. In addition, there is currently no regulatory framework for CO2-free hydrogen production, the companies said.
”We are convinced: Climate-neutral industrial production ‘made in Germany’ ensures that value added and employment remain in Germany and opens up export opportunities for new technologies,” said Brudermüller and Krebber.