Wintershall Dea, VNG plan German hydrogen
German producer Wintershall Dea and utility VNG are to work together on a facility to produce climate-friendly ‘turquoise’ hydrogen, they said August 18. In March they became investors in UK pyrolysis start-up HiiROC. The process splits gas into hydrogen and solid carbon at high temperatures using electricity to generate heat. This makes it a mix of green and blue hydrogen, or turquoise.
The pilot facility will go into operation in 2023 and have a nominal capacity of 400 kg/day of hydrogen, which would be about 5 GWh/yr. It will be the first of its kind in Germany. The companies are already in talks with potential customers for the hydrogen, and about a possible location in eastern Germany.
“In order to achieve German and European climate targets by 2050, it’s necessary to rapidly establish a functioning hydrogen market. We want to be part of the solution and are investing in future-focused projects," Wintershall Dea said.
It said that co-operating with VNG would help "establish a hydrogen market, because markets don't happen by themselves. They have to be built and organised – technology neutral." VNG also has extensive experience of the entire natural gas value chain and in particular access to end users.
VNG said that developing hydrogen to the point where it could be a commodity required strong partnerships, between companies as well as between industry and the world of politics. "It is a great development for us that we are now working more closely with a leading international player like Wintershall Dea," it said.
VNG has been working on hydrogen storage using salt caverns and on green hydrogen production in Germany, while Wintershall Dea announced August 18 its progress with a Danish carbon capture and storage project using an offshore reservoir it operates to absorb CO2.
While there is no problem in theory with finding a market for the hydrogen, solid carbon is not so much in demand. But it will be cheaper to store permanently being a solid rather than a gas.