Uniper and Salzgitter ink preliminary hydrogen supply deal

German companies Uniper and Salzgitter have signed a pre-contract for the supply and purchase of green hydrogen that covers, among other things, the technical and commercial framework conditions for its supply.

Courtesy of Uniper

The hydrogen is to be produced in the 200 MW electrolysis plant planned by Uniper, which is scheduled to be commissioned in Wilhelmshaven in 2028, Uniper said, adding that it will be required for the SALCOS – Salzgitter Low CO2 Steelmaking program, and will be used in the direct reduction plant being constructed in Salzgitter to produce almost CO2-neutral steel.

Depending in particular on the availability of the German H2 core network and a specific pipeline route from Wilhelmshaven to Salzgitter, Uniper revealed the company could supply up to 20,000 tons of certified green hydrogen to Salzgitter every year, starting in 2028 at the earliest.

“This is the first step towards an external hydrogen supply for SALCOS®, which will require up to 150,000 tons of hydrogen per year in its first stage. A pipeline connection from Wilhelmshaven to Salzgitter is absolutely essential and must be established as quickly as possible. The pipeline operators and political decision-makers, together with Salzgitter AG and Uniper SE, urgently need to agree on an accelerated timetable for this,” Uniper noted.

Holger Kreetz, COO of Uniper, commented: “We look forward to working with Salzgitter AG and helping to reduce Salzgitter AG’s emissions. Such partnerships demonstrate the added value of our Energy Transformation Hub Northwest, strengthen the region’s role as an energy hub for the future and make a valuable contribution to achieving Germany’s climate targets together.”

Gunnar Groebler, CEO of Salzgitter, stated: “The production and availability of green hydrogen is a key success criteria for SALCOS®. This agreement with Uniper is therefore another important step on our path to green steel. The energy infrastructure and the associated power grids now urgently need to be expanded.”

To note, Uniper’s Green Wilhelmshaven projects have access to renewable energies, particularly from the offshore wind farms in the North Sea, the connection to the German hydrogen pipeline system and the planned hydrogen storage facilities in northern Germany.

The company said the plan is to expand electrolysis to a capacity of 1 GW, which will enable hydrogen production of 100,000 tons per year. In addition, Uniper will build a terminal in Wilhelmshaven for the import of green ammonia by ship with an output volume of at least 300,000 tonnes of hydrogen.

In 2023, Uniper and Salzgitter, together with BP, Gasunie, Nowega, NWO and Thyssengas, announced that they are connecting their hydrogen projects in north-west Germany to network Wilhelmshaven as a future location for hydrogen import and production with the industrial consumption centres in North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony.

At the time, Axel Wietfeld, Managing Director of Uniper Hydrogen, said: “This partnership gives Uniper’s ‘Green Wilhelmshaven’ projects, the large electrolysis and the ammonia import terminal with cracker, the fastest possible access to the future consumption centres for green hydrogen. We are pleased to be able to significantly accelerate the development of the European hydrogen economy.”

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