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Orsted to harness the North Sea for renewable hydrogen

Thursday, 01 April 2021

On 31 March 2021, Ørsted announced the 'SeaH2Land' project, which aims to use offshore wind generation for hydrogen production for industrial use in the Dutch-Flemish North Sea Port cluster.

The project name stems from the Zeeland region where most of the facilities will be based, including an envisaged regional cross-border pipeline to convey the renewable hydrogen. Some of the beneficiaries of this development include industrial companies such as Arcelor-Mittal, Yara, and Dow; international entities with production facilities in the region. Some of the products which will utilise the renewable hydrogen include steel, ammonia, and ethylene.

Additionally, the project will also benefit the Netherlands and Belgium to reach national carbon targets heading towards 2030 and beyond.

The hydrogen will be produced via Ørsted installed hydrolysers, with a capacity of approximately 1 GW by the year 2030. Such capacity would produce enough green hydrogen to satisfy 20% of all current hydrogen demand for the region. The North Sea Port cluster is one of the largest producers and consumers of hydrogen today, at 580 000 tonnes and this is expected to grow to close to one million tonnes by 2050, which would be the equivalent output of 10 GW hydrolyser capacity.

Martin Neubert, Chief Commercial Officer and Deputy Group CEO, Ørsted, said of the project: “As the world looks to decarbonise, it’s paramount that we act now to secure the long-term competitiveness of European industry in a green economy. The SeaH2Land project outlines a clear vision and roadmap for large-scale renewable hydrogen linked to new offshore wind capacity. With the right framework in place, the Netherlands and Belgium can leverage the nearly unlimited power of offshore wind to significantly advance renewable hydrogen as a true European industrial success story.”

Ørsted plans to power the electrolyser by commissioning two offshore windfarms, with a peak capacity of 2 GW. The Danish company is no stranger to the Dutch North Sea, having commissioned Borssele 1 & 2 with 752 MW capacity, although this will be overshadowed by the nearby Vattenfall Hollandse Kust Zuid offshore wind farm, with the final investment decision already being made to commence the project which will see 1.5 GW of capacity come on-line in 2023.

The industrial players in the region, united in the Smart Delta Resources (SDR) industry partnership, will now move forward and engage in dialogue with the regulatory authorities on the framework and policies needed to support the development of renewable hydrogen linked to large-scale offshore wind, the regional infrastructure, and conduct a full feasibility study of the project.