Uniper Swapping LNG Terminal for Green Hydrogen Project
Written by Martin Lynch, European News Editor for Industrial Info (Galway, Ireland)--Uniper has announced that it is scrapping plans for a floating import terminal for liquefied natural gas (LNG) at its Wilhelmshaven site in Germany in favour of building an import terminal for green ammonia instead.
The so-called "Green Wilhelmshaven" project is being presented as a national hub for green hydrogen which will be capable of producing around 295,000 metric tons--or 10% of Germany's demand--by 2030. Uniper is the latest company to jump on the growing hydrogen bandwagon. The company stated that the LNG terminal was not feasible as a test to gauge binding interest "proved that there is currently not enough interest in the LNG sector in terms of booking large, long-term capacities for LNG regasification in Germany."
The import terminal for ammonia will be paired with an ammonia cracker and a 410-megawatt (MW) electrolysis plant, all of which will be connected to the planned hydrogen network. Generated hydrogen will primarily be used to supply local industry, but it also will be possible to feed it into the national hydrogen network. The project will be located on the site of the 757-MW Wilhelmshaven coal-fired plant, which is due to close in December as part of Uniper's plans to decarbonise. Earlier this month Uniper said its bid for funding from the German Federal Network Agency to take the plant offline early was successful. The company wants to close most of its coal-fired plants by 2025 in order to eliminate 18 million tons of CO2 emissions per year. Other plants facing closure, alongside Wilhelmshaven, include Gelsenkirchen Scholven, Heyden and Staudinger, with a combined generating capacity of 2,900 MW.
David Bryson, chief operating officer, Uniper, said: "It is essential that Germany and Europe remain industrial powerhouses: If we want to achieve this and still hit our ambitious climate protection targets, we need hydrogen to power sectors such as steel production, the chemicals industry or in freight, shipping and air transport. In other words: We need 'green molecules' as well as 'green electrons'. We need to get hydrogen out of the laboratory and start using it in large-scale applications and marketable industrial solutions--we should make it into a commodity and exploit its wide variety of uses. One way of achieving this is to import green ammonia and convert it into hydrogen, which is something we are looking at for Wilhelmshaven. Currently, Germany plans to generate 14 terawatt hours (TWh) of green hydrogen in 2030, but the demand for that year is forecast to be 90-100 TWh--the discrepancy between these two figures is abundantly clear. We will be heavily dependent on imports if we want to use hydrogen to help us achieve our climate goals."
Uniper is also working with partners Salzgitter and Rhenus Logistics to see if it would be feasible to build a direct reduction plant with upstream hydrogen electrolysis on the site of the existing Wilhelmshaven power plant. It would include required infrastructure for supplying raw materials with the overall aim of producing around 2 million metric tons of "green" crude iron using hydrogen generated via wind power.
Dr. Axel Wietfeld, chief executive officer, Uniper Hydrogen, added: "One sector in which hydrogen can play a crucial role in reducing CO2 emissions is steel production. Currently, each metric ton of crude steel produced releases approximately one metric ton of CO2 emissions. Hydrogen is the only realistic option for decarbonising this industry."