Shell, major energy company, announced last week that a green hydrogen electrolyser had started operations at Chemicals Park Rheinland; located in Cologne, Germany. The device uses the PEM technology, and is in fact Europe’s biggest.
Firstly, the project is now fully operational, and it is the first to use the PEM technology at such scale, in a refinery. The PEM stands for Polymer Electrolyte Membrane, which is the type of electrolysis produced in a cell equipped with a solid polymer electrolyte; which is in turn responsible for the conduction of protons, separation of product gases, and electrical insulation of the electrodes; that ultimately enable the separation of hydrogen from water.
Secondly, the project has funding through the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking; and comes as part of the Refhyne European consortium, according to the statement. The project has 10 megawatts of capacity. However, there are plans underway to scale up to 100MW.
Thirdly, the Rheinland electrolyser will use renewable electricity and will produce 1,300 tons of green hydrogen a year. The green hydrogen will initially be used to produce lower carbon fuels; and to help other industries decarbonize.
Moreover, at the Rheinland site Shell plans to scale the electrolyser capacity to a 100MW as said above; but also, to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) using renewable power and biomass; as well as to develop a plant for liquefied renewable natural gas (bio-LNG). In fact, both projects are already under development.
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Shell to develop also liquified renewable natural gas
In addition, Shell plans to transform its refinery footprint to five core energy and chemicals parks; this means Shell will reduce the production of traditional fuels by 55% by 2030. This target is part of the company’s plans to become a net-zero-emissions energy business by 2050.
On the other hand, about the project, company’s Downstream Director, Huibert Vigeveno, said at the official opening ceremony, on June 2. “This project demonstrates a new kind of energy future and a model of lower-carbon energy production that can be replicated worldwide.”
He also added. “Shell wants to become a leading supplier of green hydrogen for industrial and transport customers in Germany. We will be involved in the whole process; from power generation, using offshore wind; to hydrogen production and distribution across sectors. We want to be the partner of choice for our customers as we help them decarbonize.”
Finally, the European consortium is backing the project, as said above, but it consists of Shell, ITM Power; research organization SINTEF; consultants Sphera and Element Energy.