Uniper, Port of Rotterdam in green hydrogen production deal

Germany’s energy company Uniper and the Port of Rotterdam Authority have entered into an agreement for developing the production of green hydrogen at the Uniper location on Maasvlakte.

This agreement has been laid down in a memorandum of understanding (MoU) and marks a major milestone in the further development of the hydrogen value chain in the Rijnmond region. 

The plans build on the findings of a recent feasibility study conducted by the partners, which aim to realize a hydrogen plant on Uniper’s site by 2025 that would have a capacity of 100 MW and to expand this capacity to 500 MW.

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The Uniper hydrogen plant is to be connected to the HyTransport.RTM pipeline that runs through the Port of Rotterdam. The pipeline also connects the Uniper plant to the national hydrogen infrastructure and the Delta Corridor pipeline bundle.

The latter project is intended for delivering hydrogen to chemical clusters in Moerdijk and Geleen (Chemelot) and farther away in North Rhine-Westphalia, according to the partners.

“We have the strong ambition to convert our Maasvlakte location into a major link in the new European hydrogen value chain in close collaboration with the Port of Rotterdam Authority and other partners,” said Yolande Verbeek, director of Uniper Benelux.

“There is a host of opportunities, not only for Uniper but also for other players in the chain. Together we can use sustainable hydrogen to reduce CO2 levels in Rotterdam significantly.”

The next key step in the Uniper project is the front-end engineering and design (FEED) study.

This nine-month study is currently being contracted out and should yield in-depth findings for the conceptual design of the electrolysis installation, the project planning, and a realistic budget.

With the help of these findings the first phase of this unique electrolysis plant can be outsourced to a number of specialist suppliers and contractors.

Soon, the first efforts will be made to apply for the permits needed, to seek (financial) support from various authorities, to enter into agreements with the relevant partners involved in the value chain, and to prepare an investment decision in 2022.

“The industry has to go through a massive change in making its business processes more sustainable,” stated Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority.

“Hydrogen will play a central role in this process. We are working with partners towards the introduction of a large-scale hydrogen network across the port complex, making Rotterdam an international hub for hydrogen production and import and for the transit of hydrogen to other countries in Northwestern Europe.”

The port has the ambition to be carbon neutral by 2050 while retaining its central role in the European energy system.

By then, according to expectations of the port authority, approximately 20 tonnes of hydrogen will flow through the port to consumers in the Netherlands and beyond.

Recently, the port conducted a feasibility study with energy company Landsvirkjun on exporting green hydrogen from Iceland to Rotterdam. The new findings show that a project to produce green hydrogen from renewables in Iceland and export it to the Port of Rotterdam could be technically feasible by 2030.

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