Hamburg Coal-Fired Power Plant to Be Transformed into...
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Hamburg Coal-Fired Power Plant to Be Transformed into Mega-Electrolyser For Green Hydrogen

By Energy CIO Insights | Wednesday, February 10, 2021

The new electrolyzer will have a capacity of 100 megawatts and will be installed on the site of the former Moorburg coal-fired power station.

FREMONT, CA: Letter of intent was signed by Vattenfall, Shell, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and Hamburg’s municipal heat provider Hamburg Wärme.

• 100 MW power to be installed in the Port of Hamburg (Moorburg) from 2025 onwards.

• Hamburg is on the way to become a European center of green hydrogen economy.

• According to the OECD, Hamburg’s metropolitan area is the most promising hydrogen areas in Europe.

Vattenfall, Shell, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), and Hamburg’s municipal heat provider Hamburg Wärme are preparing to build one of the world’s largest electrolyzers in the Port of Hamburg. The new electrolyzer will have a capacity of 100 megawatts and will be installed on the site of the former Moorburg coal-fired power station. The four businesses have now signed a letter of intent for this reason.

Jens Kerstan, Chairman of the Supervisory Boards of Wärme Hamburg GmbH and Gasnetz Hamburg GmbH and the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg’s Minister for the Environment and Energy: “For Hamburg as a city that embraces the energy transition, this agreement is a vital step. At the Moorburg site, we will be producing green hydrogen on a large scale in collaboration with experienced partners from industry, while at the same time establishing a Green Energy hub for climate-friendly energy. This is a bold venture that now needs to be filled with life. This project will be a major lever for reaching our climate goals. The gas pipeline networks in the port and around Moorburg are now being expanded to accommodate hydrogen and to facilitate supplies to industry and large businesses. Our hydrogen future is now taking shape, and Hamburg intends to be at the forefront here. The Hamburg Senate supports these efforts, and Hamburg’s public companies play a decisive role in this.”

“We are looking forward to having the opportunity to apply our engineering and technology expertise to realize this project together with our partners. The establishment of a green hydrogen hub that is fully integrated into Hamburg’s industrial infrastructure would show Europe and the world that the hydrogen economy is real and can make a significant contribution to the decarbonization of the energy system and heavy industry,” stated Kentaro Hosomi, President and CEO Energy Systems, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

As a result, the Hamburg metropolitan area tends to position itself as a leader in the European green hydrogen economy. According to the OECD, it brings excellent preconditions to the table. The city and the neighboring northern German states now have a high share of renewable energy. They are targeting a massive expansion of the green hydrogen economy through the entire value chain. In this regard, Northern Germany needs to take the lead on an international scale and further improve its position. As the home of Europe’s third-largest port and an in-depth market, political, and application-oriented research ecosystem, Hamburg plays a vital role in this. A new benchmark has now been set with the Letter of Intent to turn the Moorburg coal-fired power plant into the most efficient electrolyzers. In the coming years, Germany will spend nine billion euros on producing a green hydrogen economy. Forecasts estimate that Europe’s hydrogen market will create 5.4 million jobs and 800 billion euros in annual revenue by 2050.

“In the future, green hydrogen will play a very important role in the energy system and therefore also for us. We keep an eye on the development of the entire value chain for hydrogen; from the entry into electricity production from offshore wind to the expansion of capacities for green hydrogen production as well as to the supply for mobility or transport applications and other industries. To achieve this, we need to and we want to collaborate with strong partners. We consider this project of the consortium of four together with the city of Hamburg to be exemplary,” said Fabian Ziegler, CEO, Shell in Germany.

The firm’s Shell, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Vattenfall, and the municipal company Wärme Hamburg are preparing to generate and use hydrogen from wind and solar power at the Hamburg-Moorburg power station. To that end, the four firms have now signed a letter of intent. In addition to installing a scalable electrolyzer with an initial capacity of 100 megawatts, further development of the site into a ‘Green Energy Centre’ is expected. This involves investigating the degree to which the current Moorburg site facilities can be used to produce electricity from renewable sources.

Andreas Regnell, Senior Vice President and Head of Strategic Development, Vattenfall, noted, “The production of fossil free hydrogen is one key to the decarbonisation of the industry and the transport sectors. Vattenfall wants to enable fossil free living within one generation and we have high ambitions to grow within renewable energy production in the markets where we operate. In this project we can contribute with our expertise and experience and the unique Moorburg site that has the infrastructure that is necessary for large scale production of hydrogen. We are therefore pleased that we can support the city and the industrial location of Hamburg in implementing their ambitious climate goals.”

Concepts for the required logistic chains and storage solutions for hydrogen would also be considered in this sense. Subject to the final investment decision and according to the current planning point, as soon as the site has been approved, green hydrogen production is planned to take place in 2025-making the electrolyzer one of the largest plants in Europe.

Partners plan to apply for funding under the EU program ‘Important projects of common European interest’ (IPCEI). This is planned to take place in the first quarter of 2021 with the submission of the first outline of the project. The four partner firms deem the energy position to be the optimal conditions for future use. It is linked to both the national 380,000-volt transmission network and the 110,000-volt transmission network of the City of Hamburg.

Besides, overseas ships can call directly at the position and use the quay and port facilities as an import terminal. The municipal gas network corporation also plans to extend the port’s hydrogen network within ten years and is already working on the necessary delivery facilities. Numerous future green hydrogen consumers are situated near the site, allowing the project to encompass the entire hydrogen supply chain-from generation to storage, transport, and consumption in different industries. Under these terms, the Moorburg site is suitable for the German Federal State of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and Northern Germany. It can become a possible starting point for the growth of the hydrogen economy.

“Hydrogen has enormous potential not just as a means of power storage. Wärme Hamburg has pledged to make available all sources of waste heat and to utilize this climate neutral heat. This is the reason why Wärme Hamburg decided, to take part in the electrolyser project. In addition, we want to evaluate if we can use the existing infrastructure at the Moorburg site, also to use other, additional forms of renewable energy. Moorburg has the potential to become an innovative urban hub for renewable energies,” stated Christian Heine, CEO, Wärme Hamburg GmbH and Gasnetz Hamburg GmbH.

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