Germany starts work on world’s largest hydrogen refinery

ITM Power, the UK clean fuel company, says construction has begun on a hydrogen electrolysis plant at the Shell Rheinland refinery in Wesseling, Germany.

The 10MW plant, the largest of its kind in the world, is being developed by Shell and ITM with funding from the European Commission. It will be the first full-scale deployment of polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) technology, which promises to improve the environmental performance of refineries.   

PEM is attractive to energy companies because it is relatively low cost, and can be used efficiently with wind and solar power sources.

The plant is expected to generate up to 1,300 tonnes of hydrogen a year, which may be used to improve the refinery’s environmental performance and to support Germany’s National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology.

Frans Dumoulin, the director of the Shell Rheinland Refinery, commented: "Oil products will continue to play an important role in the decades ahead, and this project means we will be able to make more and cleaner fuels, bitumen and base chemicals."

Christoph Dammermann, economic secretary for the state government of Northrhine-Westfalia, added: "Hydrogen has great potential for a climate-neutral energy system of the future. Produced from renewable electricity, it can serve as an important energy carrier and long-term storage in the transport, heating and industrial sectors and thus become a key element for the energy and traffic transition."

The hydrogen electrolysis plant is expected to be completed in the second half of next year.

Image: The project breaks ground … (ITM Power)

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