‘This project demonstrates a new kind of energy future and a model of lower-carbon energy production that can be replicated worldwide.’
Europe’s largest Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) electrolyser producing green hydrogen has become operational. The unit, which currently has a capacity of 10 megawatts, is located at Shell’s Energy and Chemicals Park Rheinland, Wesseling, Germany, where it will produce up to 1300 tonnes of green hydrogen per year. This will initially be used to produce fuels with lower carbon intensity and help decarbonise other industries.
The project is backed by a European consortium comprising Shell, ITM Power, SINTEF, a research organisation and consultants Sphera and Element Energy. The Electrolyser was manufactured by ITM Power at its facility in Sheffield, UK, with parts being supplied by manufactures in Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden. The project is also part of the Refhyne European consortium and has European Commission funding through the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking.
Plans are being put in place to expand the capacity of the electrolyser from 10 megawatts to 100 megawatts at the Shell site, where the company also intends to produce sustainable aviation fuel using renewable power and biomass. Shell is set to transform its refinery footprint to five core energy and chemicals parks, leading to a decrease in the production of traditional fuels by 55% by 2030.
Commenting, Shell’s Downstream Director, Huibert Vigeveno said: ‘This project demonstrates a new kind of energy future and a model of lower-carbon energy production that can be replicated worldwide.’
PEM electrolysers are suited to working with renewable energy sources as then can be operated using varying loads of electricity. This means that PEM electrolysers can be used when wind and solar energy generation are cheapest.