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EU funding for clean hydrogen

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Three utility-scale clean hydrogen projects have been awarded a portion of more than €1.8 billion in awards as part of the second large-project financing request for the EU Innovation Fund, significantly increasing the possibility that they will reach commercial operation.

Two green hydrogen initiatives and one waste-to-hydrogen scheme, both situated in the Netherlands, are among the 17 winners. At the time of writing, no information on the size of the individual grants was available.

“The Innovation Fund is an important tool to scale up innovations in renewable hydrogen and other solutions for European industry,” said Frans Timmermans, executive vice president of the European Commission. “Compared to the first disbursement round, the funds available have increased by 60%, enabling us to double the number of projects supported.”

The first 200MW phase of one of the two renewable H2 projects, oil giant Shell’s 400MW Holland Hydrogen 1 plant, gained FID last week. Powered by the 750MW Hollandse Kust Noord offshore wind farm currently under construction in the Dutch North Sea, the business plans to bring the plant online by 2025 and then double its capacity by 2027. The renewable hydrogen it generates will be exported to shore via an open-access pipeline, displacing a portion of the conventional hydrogen used by Shell’s Rotterdam refinery.

The other is Air Liquide’s 200MW ELYgator project in Terneuzen, which is designed to produce 15,500 tons of green hydrogen annually through its “flexible electrolyser dispatch” concept, which will produce in accordance with available wind and solar energy and reduce grid congestion. The H2 production will be offered to industrial and transportation users.

RWE is developing FUREC, a waste-to-H2 scheme that will produce 54,000 tons of hydrogen annually from non-recyclable solid waste at an industrial cluster in Limburg. Green H2 will replace grey in the chemical industry, according to RWE, and a hydrogen link will be established between Dutch ports and Germany’s industrial Ruhr region.

The 433MW Nordsee Two offshore wind farm project in the German North Sea, in which RWE holds a 51 percent share, will also receive money. The firm and its project partner, Northland Power of Canada, seek to include 4MW of electolyser capacity for vessel refueling and emergency power into the project.

Wind turbine manufacturer Vestas began testing the “world’s first” hydrogen-powered personnel transfer vehicle at the Norther Wind Farm in Belgium earlier this month.

In addition to EU Innovation Fund-backed subsidies recently announced by the Commission, this financing will promote green hydrogen projects through a carbon contracts for differences (CCfD) scheme.

Pipeline hydrogen transfer is well-established in the Netherlands. The Dutch government revealed a plan to establish the world’s first national H2 transmission network using repurposed natural gas pipelines last month. This ambitious plan may be tough to replicate in other nations.

The projects will contribute to the ambitious EU hydrogen ambitions, established as part of the REPowerEU program, to produce and import ten million tons of green hydrogen by 2030. The accomplishment will take 200GW of electrolyzers, which is more than 300 times the capacity of the green H2 projects that received finance this week, as well as 600GW of new wind and solar power.

Nedim Husomanovic

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