EuropeOffshore Wind

Backed by Dow, ArcelorMittal and Yara, Ørsted details giant North Sea renewable hydrogen plant

Danish utility Ørsted has revealed plans for SeaH2Land, an ambitious vision linking GW-scale electrolysis to the large industrial demand in the Dutch-Flemish North Sea Port cluster through an envisaged regional cross-border pipeline. The green electricity required to produce the renewable hydrogen is proposed to come from the build-out of additional large-scale offshore wind.

The major industrial companies in the region ArcelorMittal, Yara, Dow Benelux, and Zeeland Refinery, are supporting the development of the required regional infrastructure to enable sustainably-produced steel, ammonia, ethylene, and fuels in the future, helping the Netherlands and Belgium to accelerate their carbon reductions towards 2030 and beyond.

The SeaH2Land vision includes a renewable hydrogen production facility of 1 GW by 2030 to be developed by Ørsted. If realised, the electrolyser, which will produce the renewable hydrogen, can convert about 20% of the current hydrogen consumption in the region to renewable hydrogen.

With 580,000 tonnes per year, the North Sea Port cluster is one of the largest production and demand centres of fossil hydrogen in Europe today. Driven by decarbonisation efforts, industrial demand in the cluster could grow to about 1m tonnes by 2050, equivalent to roughly 10 GW of electrolysis.

Ørsted has proposed to connect the GW electrolyser directly to a new 2 GW offshore wind farm in the Dutch North Sea. This will enable the large-scale supply of renewable electricity required for production of renewable hydrogen. The offshore wind farm could be built in one of the zones in the southern part of the Dutch exclusive economic zone that has already been designated for offshore wind development.

Yara, in consortium with Ørsted, and Zeeland Refinery have each announced plans for mid-size renewable hydrogen production at their sites, while Dow has been exporting hydrogen to Yara since 2018 through the world’s first conversion of a gas pipeline into hydrogen. The network can be extended further south to ArcelorMittal and further north, underneath the river Scheldt, to Zeeland Refinery, as a link to create a unique regional ecosystem of hydrogen exchange with significant carbon reduction in the manufacturing processes of ammonia, chemicals, and steel.

Subject to a regulatory framework being in place, the regional network will unlock the first phase of SeaH2Land, which comprises 500 MW of electrolyser capacity. The second phase of SeaH2Land which scales the electrolyser capacity to 1 GW will require the possibility to connect to a national hydrogen backbone, providing additional flexibility and storage. Several locations north and south of the river Scheldt have been identified for GW-scale electrolysis. In the meantime, several projects are being developed in the region on the sites of industrial players, such as Zeeland Refinery’s envisaged 150 MW electrolyser, which are also to be connected to the network.

The partnership will now move forward and engage in dialogue with the regulatory authorities on the framework and policies needed to support the development of renewable hydrogen linked to large-scale offshore wind, the regional infrastructure, and conduct a full feasibility study of the project.

Martin Neubert, deputy group CEO of Ørsted, commented: “The Dutch-Flemish North Sea Port covers one of the largest hydrogen clusters in Europe. As the world looks to decarbonise, it’s paramount that we act now to secure the long-term competitiveness of European industry in a green economy. The SeaH2Land project outlines a clear vision and roadmap for large-scale renewable hydrogen linked to new offshore wind capacity. With the right framework in place, the Netherlands and Belgium can leverage the nearly unlimited power of offshore wind to significantly advance renewable hydrogen as a true European industrial success story.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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