With its BlueHyNow project, gas and oil producer Wintershall Dea wants to produce hydrogen on a large scale in Germany and store CO2 in deep geological layers under the North Sea. Production is to take place at the Wilhelmshaven site, where a "strong, networked infrastructure" already exists - with two nearby landing points for gas from Norway, the possibility of hydrogen storage in neighboring cavern storage facilities and a direct connection to the planned German hydrogen network, according to the Kassel-based company.
At this energy hub at the deep-water port site - where work is also starting on an LNG terminal - Wintershall Dea plans to produce or supply around 200,000 cubic meters of natural gas-based hydrogen per hour as part of the BlueHyNow project, around 5.6 TWh per year. The hydrogen will then be fed into the transport network and supplied to industrial customers. The CO2 captured during hydrogen production, in turn, will be transported by sea to storage facilities in Norway and Denmark for underground storage, according to project plans.
"Industrial customers need the certainty that they will have access to sufficient quantities of hydrogen in the near future," commented Wintershall Dea CEO Mario Mehren. "Emission-free hydrogen from natural gas is an indispensable part of the solution." He added that without new projects like BlueHyNow, Germany faces a significant capacity gap in view of its goal of a climate-neutral energy supply. According to forecasts used by Winterhall Dea, hydrogen demand would increase from 55 TWh per year today to 90 to 110 TWh per year by 2030. This demand could even increase significantly due to current European initiatives such as REPowerEU or the new gas package. Current plans in the German government's coalition agreement add about 28 TWh of demand per year.
As far as the transport of captured CO2 is concerned, cross-border CO2 transport from Germany is technically feasible, he said. "Politically, however, the prerequisite must be created that intergovernmental agreements are concluded on the basis of the so-called London Protocol," Mehren emphasized. He said that suitable locations had already been found with a view to the port connection in Wilhelmshaven for shipping the CO2 and for setting up hydrogen production. However, promising CO2 deposits were also located off the German North Sea coast - to the tune of around 2.9 billion tons of CO2, according to studies. "Wintershall Dea is therefore in favor of modernizing the legal framework so that offshore CCS can also be sensibly implemented in Germany," Mehren said.