Big energy partners join Shell's giant NortH2 wind-to-hydrogen project
Oil giant Shell is planning the biggest wind-to-hydrogen project in Europe, a colossal 10-gigawatt offshore wind farm in the North Sea feeding a massive electrolysis plant on dry land that'll pump out a million tonnes of clean H2 a year by 2040.
The NortH2 project will be located on the North coast of the Netherlands, and by the time it reaches that kind of output, it'll be reducing emissions by the same amount as shutting down every combustion vehicle in Norway.
Started in conjunction with Dutch natural gas company Gasunie and Groningen Seaports, it will eventually dwarf the 3.6-gigawatt Dogger Bank offshore wind generation project in the United Kingdom, with 4 GW of capacity in 2030 being ramped up to 10 or more over the following decade.
Gasunie's existing natural gas pipeline infrastructure will come in very handy. It'll allow large-scale transport and storage of the hydrogen produced, which will primarily feed industrial clusters in the Netherlands and Germany, with smaller amounts going to transport, mobility and domestic uses.
Norwegian oil and gas company Equinor, as well as German-headquartered multinational energy company RWE, have now joined the project, a huge decarbonization push that aims to displace dirty coal- and gas-based hydrogen production and make a big contribution to the European Union's climate targets for 2030 and beyond.
These kinds of grand-scale operations will be essential in the drive to get clean hydrogen down to a cost where it can compete both with dirty hydrogen and with fossil fuels. They will require massive offshore wind turbines, even bigger than the 85-storey high GE Haliade-X goliaths currently being deployed at cutting-edge large-scale projects, as well as significant advances in bulk water splitting electrolysis.