Conversion of Bavaria’s largest oil refinery to hydrogen plagued by legal uncertainties
Bayernoil, Bavaria’s biggest oil refinery, is planning to move away from petrol and heating oil and towards e-fuels created with sustainably produced hydrogen, but legal uncertainties are complicating its long-term strategy, Süddeutsche Zeitung reports. Bayernoil, which currently processes 12 billion litres of crude oil annually, is aiming to become carbon neutral by 2045 and convert its operations in order to produce alternatives, such as green methanol and other e-fuels. To that end, Bayernoil has plans for the construction of an electrolysis plant on the refinery site that will be gradually expanded to up to 800 MW. Hydrogen production is to be powered by solar installations and wind turbines as well as by gas produced from residual wood. The company will initially start with 500,000 tonnes of wood and up to 4 million tonnes in the final stage, according to Bayernoil CEO Michael Raue. Bayernoil is also looking to use biogenic sources such as sewage sludge.
The project, which reportedly could receive funding of up to 100 million euros, is awaiting approval from the European Commission. The use of biogenic sources for hydrogen remains a grey area, however if produced as an intermediate product in refineries, Süddeutsche Zeitung notes. Lawmakers have recommended that the federal government examine whether the promotion of biogenic hydrogen in refineries is possible, but not until 2026. Germany’s leading bioenergy industry organisations are calling for the next federal government to boost the sector’s role in climate protection efforts.