Green economy: Mott MacDonald is technical lead on Europe’s biggest hydrogen scheme

UK-headquartered engineering consultancy Mott MacDonald has been appointed to help an ambitious scheme to use offshore North Sea wind power to mass-produce hydrogen for distribution as an emissions-free fuel in northern Europe.

The NortH2 scheme envisions huge new wind farms – comprising more than 4GW of generating capacity by 2030, and 10GW by 2040 – powering an electrolysing plant in Eemshaven, the Netherlands to produce hydrogen for distribution via existing natural gas infrastructure. 

The consortium behind the plan consists of Shell, the Netherlands’ Groningen Seaports, Norwegian energy group Equinor, Dutch natural gas network operator Gasunie, and German energy company RWE.

Set to be the largest hydrogen project in Europe, NortH2 aims to produce a million tons of so-called "green" hydrogen a year by 2040, which the consortium says translates into an annual reduction of up to 10 megatonnes of CO2. It aims to start making hydrogen in 2027.

Unlike hydrogen produced from natural gas, hydrogen produced from electrolysis powered by renewable energy is a largely emissions-free process. NortH2 would supply green hydrogen to industrial sectors that are difficult to electrify.

As lead technical integration consultant, Mott MacDonald will develop the potential technical solutions required to realise the project in order to help the consortium reach a final investment decision. The company will also provide cost, scheduling and risk management services.

"This is a signature project that will have a huge impact on global efforts to mitigate climate change," said Mike Haigh, Mott MacDonald’s executive chair. "Securing this appointment is a testament to our world-class credentials, which was clearly recognised by the NortH2 Consortium."

The company said NortH2 would be critical to northwest Europe meeting its net-zero ambitions while fulfilling its energy needs.

NortH2 is set to complete a feasibility study by the middle of this year with project development scheduled to start in the second half of the year.

Image: Lillgrund Wind Farm off Copenhagen and Malmö (Mariusz Paździora/CC BY-SA 3.0)

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