Equinor has joined Europe’s biggest green hydrogen project, the NortH2-project which aims to produce green hydrogen using renewable electricity from offshore wind off the coast of the Netherlands, kickstarting the hydrogen economy in Northwest Europe.
Equinor CEO, Anders Opedal, said it is a ground-breaking project which can be an important part in efforts to build a competitive position in hydrogen, creating future value and industrial possibilities.
“Developing a profitable low carbon value chain for hydrogen will be an essential part of our transition to become a broad energy company.”
“Hydrogen will be key to decarbonisation and net-zero efforts for the energy market, especially in otherwise hard to abate sectors which cannot be served by electricity,” he commented.
NortH2 was launched in February 2020, with Shell, Groningen Seaports Gasunie and the province of Groningen. Equinor joins RWE as new partners to the project. The project will complete a feasibility study by 2021, with the aim to start project development activities in the second half of 2021.
The project will have a capacity of 1 GW in 2027, 4 GW by 2030 and more than 10 GW by 2040 for electrolysis. This equates to 0.4. million tonnes of green hydrogen production in 2030 and 1 million tonnes of green hydrogen production by 2040. This can abate 8 to 10 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. This is equivalent to the yearly emissions from road traffic in Norway. The rapid growth in offshore wind is well suited to developing a green hydrogen value chain.
Pål Eitrheim, executive vice president New Energy Solutions in Equinor, said NortH2 fits well with Equinor’s experience and position as a leading offshore wind operator.
“Hydrogen will add to the competitiveness of renewables in the years to come, by adding value and an alternative route to market for renewables. The development of viable large-scale clean hydrogen value chains will help meet the Paris agreement targets,” Mr Eitrheim said.
Equinor states that Northwest Europe is well-positioned to develop an integrated hydrogen value chain – from offshore wind development and renewable power generation to production, storage, transport and the sale of green hydrogen.
The company notes that the North Sea has a great potential for large-scale wind development, there is extensive existing natural gas infrastructure that is suitable for storage and large-scale transport of hydrogen, and there are large industrial clusters in the Netherlands and Germany as well as heavy-duty vehicle OEMs that could economically benefit from a ‘first mover’ advantage.
NortH2 expands the energy transition agenda for Equinor by adding a significant green hydrogen value chain. This complements already existing renewable and low-carbon world-class projects like Dogger Bank (offshore wind), Northern Lights (CCS) and H2H Saltend (Blue hydrogen).
Through the parallel development of the required hydrogen infrastructure by repurposing existing natural gas infrastructure, the project could supply major Northwest European clusters. By doing so the NortH2 project will make an important domestic contribution to meet expected quickly growing hydrogen demand and thereby to meet Dutch as well as EU climate targets for 2030. It also ensures long term decarbonisation in line with the Paris Agreement.
The project fits well with the agenda of the Northern Netherlands to become a leading region for green hydrogen, supporting economic development and the creation of high-skilled jobs.