Uniper to convert German plant to hydrogen
German utility Uniper will convert its 757-MW coal-fired plant at the port of Wilhelmshaven to run on hydrogen after this year, saving up to 18mn metric tons/year of CO2 emissions. COO David Bryson said April 1 that the company wanted to "move toward clean forms of energy as quickly as possible."
The December 2021 closure is part of the country's plan to eliminate coal and lignite from the power mix by 2038. Companies can bid to close coal and lignite capacity in an auction process managed by the energy regulator BundnetzAgentur (BNA).
This closure resulted from the second auction round in January, the winners being announced April 1, but the plan was set out in January 2019, as part of Uniper's 2.9-GW coal and lignite closure programme over the next five years.
Uniper is working in collaboration with the companies Rhenus and Salzgitter on a feasibility study to plan and implement a plant for direct reduction using hydrogen during the production of iron ore. The nearby port provides the opportunity to import hydrogen or other forms of gas on a large scale. Other options include joining the compressed air storage power plant and connecting to the gas storage system.
Bryson said there are a number of energy options for maintaining added value and jobs in the region and hydrogen and green gases will play a central role in this shift.
Uniper said, as it announced the failure of its open season to drum up enough support to build an LNG terminal there, that hydrogen imports was one alternative it was considering for the site.
The Wilhelmshaven power plant group includes the compressed air storage power plant in Huntorf and the fully automated Audorf and Itzehoe gas turbine power plants in Schleswig-Holstein.
In the first auction, which began on September 1, 2020, 4 GW were tendered; in the second, 2021, 1.5 GW were tendered. The third auction for around 2.5 GW is scheduled for April 30.