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Shell to Build Europe's ‘Largest' Renewable Hydrogen Plant to Help Power Dutch Refinery

Ina Fassbender | AFP | Getty Images
  • Shell says it wants to "become a net-zero emissions energy business" by the year 2050, but the company remains a major producer of oil and gas.
  • Its aims for a renewable hydrogen plant in the Netherlands represent the latest attempt by multinational firms to lay down a marker in the sector.
  • Shell's Anna Mascolo says renewable hydrogen "will play a pivotal role in the energy system of the future."

Plans to build a major hydrogen plant in the Netherlands will go ahead following a final investment decision by subsidiaries of oil and gas giant Shell.

In an announcement Wednesday, Shell said the Holland Hydrogen I facility would be "Europe's largest renewable hydrogen plant" when operations start in 2025.

According to Shell, the 200 megawatt electrolyzer will be located in the Port of Rotterdam, Europe's largest seaport, generating as much as 60,000 kilograms of renewable hydrogen every day.

Hydrogen has a diverse range of applications and can be deployed in a wide range of industries. It can be produced in a number of ways. One method includes using electrolysis, with an electric current splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen.

If the electricity used in this process comes from a renewable source such as wind or solar then some call it "green" or "renewable" hydrogen.

Shell said the electrolyzer in the Netherlands would use renewable power from the Hollandse Kust (noord) offshore wind farm, a 759 MW project set to be operational in 2023. Shell is a part-owner of the wind farm.

The hydrogen generated by the plant will be funneled to the Shell Energy and Chemicals Park Rotterdam using a new hydrogen pipeline called HyTransPort.

The idea is that this renewable hydrogen "will replace some of the grey hydrogen" — which is produced using fossil fuels — used at the site. "This will partially decarbonise the facility's production of energy products like petrol and diesel and jet fuel," Shell said.

In a statement, Anna Mascolo, who is executive vice president for emerging energy solutions at Shell, said renewable hydrogen would, "play a pivotal role in the energy system of the future and this project is an important step in helping hydrogen fulfil that potential."

Shell, which on Thursday provided an update note ahead of second quarter results later this month, says it wants to "become a net-zero emissions energy business" by the year 2050. The company remains a major producer of oil and gas and has faced legal action related to its net-zero plans.

Shell's aims for a renewable hydrogen plant in the Netherlands represent the latest attempt by multinational firms to lay down a marker in the sector.

In June another oil and gas supermajor, BP, said it had agreed to take a 40.5% equity stake in the Asian Renewable Energy Hub, a vast project planned for Australia.

At the time, BP said it would become the operator of the development, adding that it had "the potential to be one of the largest renewables and green hydrogen hubs in the world."

The same month saw Siemens Energy and Air Liquide announce plans to set up a joint venture focused on the production of "industrial scale renewable hydrogen electrolyzers in Europe."

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