Shell launches the PEM green hydrogen electrolyser in Europe

Shell starts up a PEM green hydrogen electrolyser in Europe. The project, supported by a European consortium, will accelerate hydrogen production and contribute to Europe’s goal of achieving climate neutrality.

The PEM hydrogen electrolyzer has started operations at Shell’s energy and chemical park in Rheinland, Germany, producing green hydrogen.

As part of the European Refhyne consortium and with funding from the European Commission through the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), the fully operational plant is the first to use this technology on such a large scale in a refinery .

Plans are underway to increase the electrolyzer capacity from 10 MW to 100 MW at the Rheinland site near Cologne, Germany, where Shell also intends to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) using renewable energy and biomass in the future. A liquefied renewable natural gas (bio-LNG) plant is also in development.

“This project demonstrates a new kind of energy future and a model of low-carbon power generation that can be replicated around the world,” said Huibert Vigeveno, Shell’s downstream director, at the ceremony. official opening.

“Shell wants to become one of the main suppliers of green hydrogen for industrial and transport customers in Germany,” he added. “We will be involved in the whole process – from power generation, using offshore wind, to hydrogen production and distribution across all sectors. We want to be the partner of choice for our customers by helping them to decarbonise. “

Shell aims to become a net zero emissions energy company by 2050, in tune with society. As part of its Powering Progress strategy, Shell plans to transform its refinery footprint into five core energy and chemical farms. This means that Shell will reduce the production of traditional fuels by 55% by 2030.

The Rheinland electrolyser will use renewable electricity to produce up to 1,300 tpa of green hydrogen per year. This will initially be used to produce lower carbon intensity fuels. Green hydrogen will also be used to help decarbonise other industries.

The European consortium supporting the project is made up of Shell, ITM Power, the research organization SINTEF, consultants Sphera and Element Energy. The electrolyser was manufactured by ITM power in Sheffield, UK, and includes parts made in Italy, Sweden, Spain and Germany.

Armin Laschet, Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia, said: “We are a hydrogen region. With the commissioning of the largest PEM electrolysis plant in Europe, we are further strengthening our leadership role in this field. a modern and green industry, with highly skilled jobs. Today, 30% of German hydrogen demand already comes from industry in North Rhine-Westphalia. Estimates predict that demand will double by 2030. That is why we need innovative solutions that will meet the demand for CO2 neutral hydrogen. Projects like Refhyne demonstrate how innovation can benefit both the environment and the economy.

Bart Biebuyck, Executive Director of FCH JU, said: “In order to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, we need to fundamentally reshape our energy system. Clean hydrogen will play a key role in electric mobility and in industry, because it has great potential. for decarbonisation sectors where the direct use of renewable energies is not possible. As a result, we want to accelerate the market launch of fuel cells and hydrogen technology and exploit their advantages in Europe.

Dr Graham Cooley, CEO of ITM Power, said: “We would like to congratulate our partners on the successful start of Europe’s largest green hydrogen production plant. We all recognize that this is just the start of the journey to net zero. The next step, Refhyne II, is even bigger and would take us into the hundreds of MW for the first time, en route to GW deployments. The vision and commitment of Shell, North Rhine-Westphalia and FCH JU show what can be achieved to meet global commitments on climate change.

Alexandra Bech Gjørv, President and CEO of SINTEF, said: “This is a big step towards a carbon-free future. SINTEF has been heavily involved in European electrolysis research for over a decade, from the fundamental development of materials and components to pilot projects. We are happy to see a large scale implementation like here at Refhyne. The green transition was something we were talking about, now it’s what we are doing. The transformation to a low emission society is happening now and it is intensifying. “

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Perry Perrie

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