Energy company Uniper is planning to establish a German national hub for hydrogen in Wilhelmshaven and says it is currently working on a feasibility study. An import terminal for green ammonia is also planned.
The terminal is to be equipped with an ‘ammonia cracker’ to produce green hydrogen; it will also be connected to the planned hydrogen network. A 410MW electrolysis plant will also be installed, which – in combination with the import terminal – will be capable of supplying around 295,000 metric tons of hydrogen or 10% of the demand expected for the whole of Germany in 2030.
The hydrogen will primarily be used to supply local industry, including marine applications, but will also feed into Germany’s national hydrogen network.
David Bryson, COO of Uniper, commented, “It is essential that Germany and Europe remain industrial powerhouses. If we want to achieve this and still hit our ambitious climate protection targets, we need hydrogen to power sectors such as steel production, the chemicals industry or in freight, shipping and air transport. In other words, we need ‘green molecules’ as well as ‘green electrons’. We need to get hydrogen out of the laboratory and start using it in large-scale applications and marketable industrial solutions. We should make it into a commodity and exploit its wide variety of uses.
“One way of achieving this is to import green ammonia and convert it into hydrogen, which is something we are looking at for Wilhelmshaven. Currently, Germany plans to generate 14TWh of green hydrogen in 2030, but the demand for that year is forecast to be 90-100TWh. The discrepancy between these two figures is abundantly clear. We will be heavily dependent on imports if we want to use hydrogen to help us achieve our climate goals.”
Uniper states that commissioning of the new terminal is planned for the second half of this decade, depending on national import demand and export opportunities. Originally, the company had explored the idea of constructing a floating import terminal for liquefied natural gas (LNG) at the Wilhelmshaven site. However, following a market test in October 2020, it found there is currently not enough interest in the LNG sector for large, long-term LNG regasification in Germany.