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Hydrogen in Equinor

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Hydrogen will be a key contributor to the energy transition. Here’s what Equinor is doing.

As an effective and environmentally-friendly energy carrier, hydrogen will make a key contribution to sustainable development of energy. Many people consider it to be the ultimate fuel of the future. Equinor is participating in several significant hydrogen projects.

With developments in hydrogen technology, the potential for business and emissions reductions is promising. Continuing our decades of energy innovation, we are participating in several projects to show how hydrogen can provide scalable and profitable growth opportunities in the future.

Decarbonising the energy system

As a potential way to help customers in the power, heating and transportation sectors reduce their emissions, Equinor is looking into early stage opportunities for converting natural gas to clean hydrogen, while capturing and storing the CO2.

Producing hydrogen from natural gas with carbon capture and storage, so-called blue hydrogen, could also be the key to keeping Norwegian gas valuable in a low carbon future. Below, we describe several projects in which we are participating to evaluate this approach.

In the journey to zero-carbon energy, many people believe that hydrogen should be considered the world’s destination fuel. The carbon capture and storage part of this journey is the essential transitional step to facilitating a longer term, sustainable, global hydrogen economy.

Magnum power plant
Photo: Sander Van Der Werf

H2M Eemshaven, the Netherlands

Equinor is developing a low-carbon hydrogen project called H2M Eemshaven, with the aim of building a production facility in the Eemshaven industrial area, where it will reform natural gas from the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) to hydrogen with CO2 capture and storage.

Carbon dioxide will be liquefied and transported to permanent storage on the NCS. Potential customers of low-carbon hydrogen are primarily steel production, chemical industries and power plants located in the Netherlands and in the Ruhr/ North-Western parts of Germany.

H2M Eemshaven will contribute to deliver on Equinor’s climate ambition and hydrogen strategy which positions Equinor in three to five major industrial clusters underpinning an ambition of 10% of European hydrogen market share by 2035. Equinor’s share of the European CO2 transport and storage marketwise exceed 25% by 2035.

H2M Eemshaven is well placed to serve customers in industry clusters in the Netherlands, as well as in the Ruhr area and Northern parts of Germany. With a production capacity of 1GW (235,000 tons), H2M Eemshaven will meet 2.3% of Europe’s existing grey hydrogen demand and 0.24% of the European clean hydrogen market forecast for 2050.

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H2morrow – One of Europe’s largest hydrogen projects

Thyssenkrupp Steel Europe

H2morrow steel, Germany:

One of Europe’s largest off-taker projects is the H2M Eemshaven reformer plant, enabling the transformation of one of Europe’s largest steel manufacturers in Germany.

Equinor, Open Grid Europe (OGE) and Thyssenkrupp Steel Europe (tkSE) have been working on a suitable concept for the generation and transport of low-carbon hydrogen to the largest German steelworks in Duisburg since 2019. In 2021 the German gas transport system operator Thyssengas joint the the consortium as associated member to complement the expertise in the infrastructure planning in the Ruhr area.

Hydrogen from natural gas and combined carbon capture and storage, so called ‘low-carbon hydrogen’, will be key in decarbonizing hard-to-abate sectors such as cement, steel and other type of heavy industries and transport. The low-carbon hydrogen will be provided by the H2M Eemshaven facility in the Netherlands.

The H2morrow project was initiated back in 2018 through a joint study between Equinor and Open Grid Europe (OGE), the largest transmission grid operators in Germany. It highlighted the high potential to generate and transport blue hydrogen to German industrial clusters such as in North Rhine-Westphalia. The year after a feasibility study was conducted with the steel producer Thyssenkrupp Steel Europe (tkSE) to develop a suitable concept to supply low-carbon hydrogen to the largest German steelworks in Duisburg.

The project could be in operation by 2028 and supply low-carbon hydrogen from Eemshaven in the Netherlands to the biggest steel plant in the Ruhr area in Germany.

Currently the project and all partners are focusing on developing the appropriate policies and regulatory framework to bring it to a robust business case.

Low-carbon hydrogen can be produced in large quantities comparatively quickly, which means that the hydrogen demand expected by industry can be met quickly.

Energy security and the energy transition

Norway & Germany are working together to create the energy system of the future. Equinor has presented a plan together with the German energy company RWE to replace coal-fired power plants with gas-fired, hydrogen-ready power plants in Germany. The plan also calls for the production of low carbon and renewable hydrogen in Norway that will be exported through pipeline to Germany.

Learn more about the project

Equinor and VNG join forces on hydrogen, ammonia and CCS

Equinor and German gas company VNG AG will cooperate on low-carbon hydrogen, ammonia and carbon capture utilization and storage. A key part of the project is to assess options for producing low-carbon hydrogen from natural gas in Rostock by the Baltic Sea.

The two companies have agreed to evaluate options for producing low-carbon hydrogen on the Baltic Sea coast, specifically in Rostock. The ambition is to use technologies to capture, utilize or transport and safely store CO2 offshore at an industrial scale.

By producing the low-carbon hydrogen, the carbon footprint will be reduced by more than 95 percent compared to hydrogen from unabated natural gas (grey hydrogen). Equinor and VNG share the belief that collaboration across industries and nations are necessary to lift the large-scale hydrogen and CCS-projects that are needed to ensure low-carbon energy and feedstocks in the future.

Key project elements are:

  • Direct imports of low-carbon hydrogen and low-carbon ammonia from Norway for the German hydrogen market.
  • Planning, building and operating a Gigawatt scale plant in Rostock, with a projected annual hydrogen production capacity in excess of 230,000 tons, corresponding to 8 to 9 TWh which is nearly 20 percent of the current German hydrogen market.
  • Separation and liquefication of nearly two million tons CO2 annually from the hydrogen production.
  • Shipping of the liquefied CO2 from Rostock for permanent and safe storage offshore Norway.
Humber Bridge

H2H Saltend: The first step to a Zero Carbon Humber

This project represents a bold but practical first step towards delivering the world’s first net zero industrial cluster by 2040. This unparalleled project can play a leading role in the UK’s journey to net zero by 2050, renew the UK’s largest industrial cluster, and unlock technology that will put the UK at the forefront of a global hydrogen economy.

Learn more about H2H Saltend

H21 North of England

“H21 North of England” is a joint report that sets out how 3.7 million homes and 40,000 businesses in the north of England could be converted from natural gas to hydrogen and made emission-free by 2034.

Equinor has contributed to the report, prepared jointly with Northern Gas Networks and Cadent in 2018, which shows how hydrogen could play a central role in the decarbonisation of the heating sector.

We have been a major gas supplier to the UK for many decades and we are a global leader in CCS. The H21 North of England report recommendations therefore fit well with our strategy of being a broad energy company dedicated to sustainable solutions for the low carbon future.

Clean hydrogen can be produced from natural gas using existing technology, at a self-powered production facility with carbon capture technology. The resulting CO2 which is captured as a by-product of the process can be stored safely in saline aquifers far below the seabed, such as those off the north east coast of England.

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H21 North of England: How hydrogen can help the UK reach its net-zero emissions goal

H21 North of England website

Equinor joins Europe’s biggest green hydrogen project

Equinor has joined the NortH2 project which aims to produce green hydrogen using renewable electricity from offshore wind off the coast of the Netherlands.