From Wilhelmshaven to the industrial centers in North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony

25.04.2023 | Salzgitter AG

Business alliance linking hydrogen import, production, transport and consumption projects

  • With bp, Gasunie, Nowega, NWO, Salzgitter, Thyssengas and Uniper teaming up, seven strong companies are now interlinking their planned hydrogen projects in northwest Germany
  • The projects map the entire H2 value chain from import and production through to transport and consumption. The hydrogen pipeline network is set to be open for additional companies on a non-discriminatory basis
  • Wilhelmshaven is well on its way to becoming a national hydrogen hub from which import and production volumes will be transported to the industrial consumption centers in North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony
  • The North-south corridor between Wilhelmshaven and the Rhine-Ruhr region and the west-east corridor between Wilhelmshaven and Salzgitter are planned as key hydrogen transport routes

The companies bp, Gasunie, Nowega, NWO, Salzgitter, Thyssengas and Uniper linking up and networking their hydrogen projects in northwest Germany. The aim of the alliance is to connect Wilhelmshaven as a future location for the import and production of hydrogen with the industrial consumption centers in North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony.
While bp and Uniper are planning various projects in Wilhelmshaven for the import and production of hydrogen, Gasunie, Nowega, NWO and Thyssengas are contributing existing transport pipelines as well as plans for new H2 pipelines to be built in connection with the overall project. A north-south corridor between Wilhelmshaven and the Cologne chemical industry region and a west-east corridor extending between Wilhelmshaven and Salzgitter will be used to link up other companies to the hydrogen infrastructure in the Rhine-Ruhr region and in Salzgitter (Lower Saxony) - in addition to the hydrogen consumption sites of the bp and Salzgitter companies. In this context, the companies involved have signed a letter of intent. By way of these cooperation activities implemented within the legal and regulatory framework, the project partners are supporting the German government's ambitious goals of making Germany climate-neutral by 2045.

Integrated project planning along the H2 value chain

The companies are participating in the alliance with their various hydrogen projects. As a result, the planned projects map and represent the entire H2 value chain. In detail, the roles are distributed as follows:
bp and Uniper, as industrial producers and consumers of hydrogen, both intend to build an ammonia import terminal at the Wilhelmshaven site. The imported ammonia supplied is then to be broken down into hydrogen and nitrogen on site by a thermo-chemical process ("cracking"), thereby recovering the green hydrogen bound in the ammonia. Ammonia as an H2 carrier enables the efficient transport of low-carbon hydrogen by ship over longer distances for final use in Germany. Uniper is also planning to build a large-scale electrolysis plant in Wilhelmshaven, which will produce green hydrogen harnessing offshore wind power from the North Sea. Both bp and Uniper have submitted their projects to the European Commission as Projects of Mutual Interest (PMI) and Projects of Common Interest (PCI), respectively. The decision on recognition is expected to be handed down this year.
At the end of February, Gasunie and Thyssengas publicly announced their plans for an H2 north-south corridor between Wilhelmshaven and the Cologne chemical region at the end of February. The approximately 400-kilometer-long transport link is to be put in place by 2028 by converting existing transport pipelines and building new ones. Both Gasunie and Thyssengas have submitted PCI (Projects of Common Interest) applications to the European Commission for their respective sub-sections. By way of a connection to the Hyperlink hydrogen network planned by Gasunie in the north and the sub-projects of the GET H2 hydrogen initiative for which Nowega and Thyssengas are responsible, the planned north-south corridor will make a significant contribution to the development of an integrated hydrogen network. This will reach both the bp refineries in the Emsland and Ruhr regions and many other potential H2 consumers along the route. In addition, Gasunie and Nowega are responsible for building the necessary west-east corridor to connect the partner and hydrogen consumer Salzgitter.
The infrastructure operators Nowega and NWO are also contributing parts of their existing pipeline network to the alliance. The conversion of the existing pipelines by Nowega and NWO significantly reduces the need for new construction while enabling large-scale accessibility of additional feeders and outfeeders.
Patrick Wendeler, Chairman of the Board of BP Europa SE:
"bp is supporting the German government's goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2045. Therefore, we are committed to investing in the production, import, and shareable infrastructure for hydrogen in Germany - not only to supply our own production processes, but also to meet the fundamental demand for green hydrogen from mobility and industrial customers. Our expertise, the connections to other bp projects, and imports from bp hydrogen centers in other parts of the world can help make Germany's energy supply lower-carbon, secure, and affordable."
Hans Jonk, Managing Director of Gasunie Energy Development GmbH:
"Our Hyperlink project will be further expanded into a powerful network with partners who are jointly tackling one of the most challenging tasks we are currently facing: the transformation of the German and European economy to climate neutrality. Together, we are building a functioning hydrogen economy and we are inviting other interested parties to join in the efforts."
Dr. Jörg Niegsch, Managing Director of Nord-West-Oelleitung GmbH
"NWO has been supplying crude oil to Germany’s Northwest since 1958. Now, in addition, NWO also wants to become part of the hydrogen industry's seamless supply to counteract the declining trend in refinery supply of crude oil. In this way, NWO is becoming part of the solution and has opportunities to become a hub for 'green' energy thanks to its unique selling points."
Frank Heunemann, Managing Director of Nowega GmbH:
"This cooperation is a consistent further development of the infrastructure between Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia, which we are launching with our participation in the GET H2 Nucleus IPCEI project. Policymakers must now promptly establish the framework for the hydrogen market and infrastructure development."
Ulrich Grethe, Chairman of the Management Board of Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH:
"The hydrogen supply to the Salzgitter steel site is one of the key pillars of our SALCOS® transformation program. With this cooperation, we are consistently pursuing our mission of 'Partnering for Transformation' and moving significantly closer to putting a hydrogen pipeline for the region in place."
Dr. Thomas Gößmann, Chairman of the Executive Board of Thyssengas:
"A fast hydrogen ramp-up is only possible by joining forces. I am therefore very pleased that bp, Nowega, NWO, Salzgitter and Uniper have teamed up with us to contribute their expertise and projects. As a result, no more and no less than a central element of the future hydrogen market in northwest Germany is set to be implemented by 2028. What is still missing is a regulatory framework that creates planning and investment security, which policymakers must now deliver promptly."
Dr. Axel Wietfeld, CEO of Uniper Hydrogen GmbH:
"This partnership will enable Uniper's 'Green Wilhelmshaven' projects - the large-scale electrolysis as well as the ammonia import terminal with the cracker - to access the future consumption centers for green hydrogen as quickly as possible. We are pleased to be able to significantly accelerate the development of the European hydrogen economy with this partnership."

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Olaf Reinecke
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