NortH2 is a consortium made up of Equinor, Gasunie, Groningen Seaports, RWE and Shell Nederland. Together, we have set our sights on large-scale green hydrogen production using offshore wind power. As much as 4 gigawatts of green hydrogen by 2030, in fact. It would mean that we would be fulfilling the objectives from the Dutch Climate Agreement, which sets that exact target.
But the ambition goes further than that. NortH2 wants to upscale to more than 10 gigawatts of green hydrogen by 2040. By then, green hydrogen output, which will initially be produced in Eemshaven and later possibly offshore as well, will total around 1,000,000 metric tons on an annual basis, cutting carbon emissions by over eight to ten megatons a year.
First of all, NortH2 has set out to build major wind farms in the North Sea, far out at sea. These can gradually be upscaled to a capacity of more than 10 gigawatts, which based on current electricity consumption levels will be enough to meet the energy needs of approximately 12.5 million Dutch domestic households. The first of these wind farms can be up and running by 2027 and used for green hydrogen production.
On top of that, there are also plans for a large electrolyser plant in Eemshaven, where wind power will be converted into hydrogen. The consortium is furthermore considering the option of building offshore electrolysers in one of the next phases.
And finally, the whole undertaking will also require a smart storage and transmission network across the Netherlands and north-western Europe to transport the 1,000,000 metric tons of green hydrogen to high-volume consumers. Initially, these consumers will mainly be industry and heavy goods transport, but the green hydrogen may later also be made available to domestic consumers. This is where Gasunie’s existing natural gas infrastructure comes in. Gasunie’s gas grid is currently used primarily to transport natural gas and green gas, but it can be repurposed for the storage and transmission of hydrogen.
The consortium has conducted a feasibility study that produced the first results in late 2020. Seeing as these results are positive, the consortium is confident that it will be able to start producing the first hydrogen around 2027. Needless to say, this also depends on permits from authorities, designation of locations for new offshore wind farms in the North Sea, the locations available for the hydrogen plant(s), interest from potential customers, and the final investment decisions of the parties involved. In late 2021, the second phase of our feasibility study will provide the information required in this context.
And in that same second phase, NortH2 also intends to incorporate the knowledge that the two new partners, Equinor and RWE, bring to the table. The consortium expects to need European and domestic energy decarbonisation grants during the initial project phases.