The Future Is Now
In parallel with the opening of the LNG terminal in Wilhelmshaven, two Uniper teams are also working to create H2 infrastructure at the site
The LNG terminal has not been up and running for very long, but already two teams in Wilhelmshaven are working on implementing infrastructure for green hydrogen, another key component of Uniper's Energy Transformation Hub Northwest. This infrastructure includes an import terminal with an ammonia cracker and an electrolyzer that will use electricity from offshore wind turbines to extract hydrogen.
"Our two facilities will allow us to produce ten percent of the projected demand for green hydrogen by 2030," explains Christian Stuckmann, Vice President Business Development Hydrogen at Uniper, who is leading the H2 projects in Wilhelmshaven. “Initially, we will supply this hydrogen to large-scale industrial projects such as the Salzgitter AG steelworks, where green hydrogen has been used to significantly reduce CO2 emissions from the steel production process. Several other projects are also ready to be implemented, such as the Energy Park Bad Lauchstädt , where we partnered with VNG AG, and an iron ore direct reduction project, which has seen us working together with the Rhenus Group, the state of Lower Saxony and the city of Wilhelmshaven.”
"We are not aiming to launch new hydrogen projects and thus increase demand, but rather to supply existing projects that require large quantities of H2 — like Salzgitter AG, for example" says Achim Schillak, who is a Senior Manager Business Development Hydrogen and responsible for the partnership with Salzgitter. After the cooperation agreement was signed in February of this year, the next step was to work together with other partners to develop a technical concept. Uniper acted as the moderator, bringing all of the relevant parties together and organizing partnerships between customers and the transmission system operators that will transport the hydrogen from Wilhelmshaven to the customer's premises. As a long-standing partner to natural gas producers, we have been facilitating projects like these for around 70 years and are now expanding into the hydrogen sector as part of the push toward decarbonization.
Uniper's concept stands out from the crowd thanks the convenience of the system. While other energy companies use electrolysis to extract hydrogen in the base of offshore windfarms and bring it ashore using pipelines, electrolysis in the Green Wilhelmshaven project takes place on land. This means that the electrolyzer can be ramped down as needed and the wind power can be fed directly into the grid instead. Alternatively, the incoming electricity can be converted into hydrogen and stored in caverns. These storage facilities ensure that customers and partners will continue to receive the required quantities of H2 even when the electrolyzer has been ramped down. Uniper is therefore able to build flexibility into the system and can provide both electricity and hydrogen for use in the grid.
Did you know that Uniper is already upgrading its storage facilities in Huntorf and Krummhörn to store hydrogen? These upgrades are also part of the Energy Transformation Hub Northwest project — you can find out more in our blog post on natural gas storage.
This blog piece is part of the series on Uniper’s activities relating to the Energy Transformation Hub Northwest.