Shell has started feasibility work on what could turn out to be the largest green hydrogen project in the world. The company is working alongside the founding partners of the NortH2 Project – Gasunie (a Dutch gas grid operator) and the port of Groningen.
The trio are currently looking for other companies to join the collaboration who are conducting a one-year feasibility study.
The project is aiming to provide 3-4GW of offshore wind capacity established in the North Sea by 2030 that will only be used for the manufacture of green hydrogen. Electrolyzers will be installed along the northern coast of the Netherlands, in Eemshaven, and by 2040 the project may expand with added offshore electrolyzers that are set to produce 10GW of power.
Shell currently has a 20% stake in a consortium that is building around 730MW of offshore wind off the coast of the Netherlands, and a 700MW auction is scheduled for April this year. The country aims to meet its offshore wind target of 11.5GW by 2030, and if the NortH2 plan goes ahead then more than a third of its energy capacity will be contracted for use in green hydrogen production.
Hydrogen is considered to be an essential part of industrial nations reaching net-zero emissions, and the Netherlands proposed a 95% reduction in emissions target, with the goal to be zero emissions in the future. NortH2 could produce 800,000 tons of green hydrogen by 2040, making a carbon tax saving opportunity of US$1.07bn, even if the current carbon tax rate remains unchanged from 2030.
The trio’s initial plan is to deliver green hydrogen to industrial businesses in the Netherlands and then expand to providing other places in northwest Europe.
The current global market for all types of hydrogen is 70 million metric tons, and according to electrolyzer manufacturer ITM Power, only one million metric tons is being used for energy rather than as industrial feedstock. Hydrogen is a highly versatile gas that can be used for transport, heating and also be converted back to electricity.