World’s first renewables-powered green hydrogen plant announced


The world’s first commercial-scale green hydrogen plant to be fully powered by excess renewable energy has been announced. The project, which will be powered by excess wind power, will be based in the Belgian port of Ostend, say the trio of companies who have partnered in the development.

Offshore engineering firm DEME, Belgian finance company PMW, and the port’s authorities intend building a 50MW pilot of what is set to be the world’s largest electrolyser plant, planned for construction in 2025.

Whilst the generation of green hydrogen via electrolysis is nothing new, the Hyport Oostende plant is the first designed to be powered purely by clean energy.

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According to the partners, Belgium’s offshore wind capacity is set to grow to 2.2GW by the end of 2020, with over 1.5GW still to be developed.

It has long been suggested that excess renewable energy that cannot be absorbed by the grid should be diverted into the production of green hydrogen, rather than being curtailed, via a process known as electrolysis — using electricity to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. But this is the first project to be announced that specifically aims to power electrolysers using only excess renewable power.

Other green hydrogen projects announced to date are seeking to receive their power from dedicated renewables projects, as green hydrogen becomes cheaper to produce the more hours per day the electrolysers are operating.

The three companies point out that Belgium will have 2.26GW of offshore wind installed by the end of this year, with a further 1.75GW to be developed.

 “However, the wind turbines’ production peaks rarely coincide with consumer demand peaks, meaning that there is an opportunity to compensate for the discontinuity between production and consumption,” they explained in a statement.

The green hydrogen from the project would “serve as an energy source for electricity, transport, heat and fuel purposes and as a raw material for industrial purposes”, the companies said.

“With our energy transition in mind, we need to be able to temporarily store our green energy surplus using hydrogen as an energy carrier or to use hydrogen as an alternative raw material for converting the industry away from fossil fuels.”

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