FRANKFURT, July 2 (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell on
Friday launched Europe's biggest hydrogen electrolysis plant at
the Wesseling site of its Rheinland refinery after two years of
construction, as it expands further into alternative energies.
The Refhyne plant, with a 10 megawatt (MW) capacity, will
produce green fuels as part of a European Union-funded
consortium which is already setting its sights on a 100 MW
facility at the site near Cologne.
Refhyne II could start operations in 2024, said Marco
Richrath, director of the Shell Energy and Chemicals Park
Rheinland at the launch ceremony for the smaller facility.
Hydrogen is considered "green" when it is produced from
renewable power from wind or sunshine through electrolysis but
"grey" hydrogen from fossil fuels is currently the feedstock in
many standard industry processes.
Green hydrogen can play a role in energy, mobility, heat
provision, and hard-to-decarbonise industries.
Shell also aims to produce sustainable aviation fuel from
renewable electricity and biomass at Wesseling as well as
developing a plant for liquefied renewable natural gas
It is under increased pressure after a Dutch court ruled it
must drastically deepen planned greenhouse gas emission
The Refhyne polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) electrolyser
will produce up to 1,300 tonnes a year of green hydrogen. The
plant cost around 20 million euros ($23.72 million) of which
half came from EU funds.
The consortium also includes electrolyser producer ITM Power
, research organisation SINTEF and consultants Sphera and
"This plant helps map out the way towards climate neutrality
while keeping economic innovation within our region," said North
Rhine Westphalia's state premier Armin Laschet.
Fabian Ziegler, CEO of Shell in Germany, noted that green
hydrogen was still five times the price of fossil hydrogen, but
said this could be reduced by half through scale and efficient
supply chains, with the rest to be offset via policy
interventions around renewable support and carbon prices.
Richrath said Shell was working with partners including
Daimler, Uniper, Remondis,
Thyssenkrupp, DHL and Rheinenergie on areas
including hydrogen pipelines and filling stations, biofuels and
($1 = 0.8431 euros)
(Reporting by Vera Eckert, editing by Kirsten Donovan)