22 Jan 2021, 14:13
Sören Amelang

Retired coal plant in Germany to be converted to green hydrogen site

Clean Energy Wire

Germany's most prominent hard coal power plant to be decommissioned as part of the country's coal exit is set to become a production site for renewable hydrogen. Oil major Shell, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), municipal heat supplier Wärme Hamburg and Swedish utility Vattenfall signed a letter of intent for the construction of an electrolyser with a 100-megawatt (MW) capacity at the site of the Moorburg power plant, which is owned by Vattenfall and was taken off grid at the turn of the year, after entering full operation as late as 2015. The partnering companies plan to develop a ‘Green Energy Hub’ at Moorburg to investigate the extent to which the plant's existing infrastructure can be used to generate renewable energy.

The project is likely to kick off in the course of 2025 and would be one of the largest hydrogen plants in Europe, Vattenfall said. The Moorburg site has “the infrastructure needed for the large-scale production of hydrogen from renewable energies such as offshore wind,” Christian Barthélémy, German head of Vattenfall, said. Kentaro Hosomi, head of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, added that the project would “demonstrate to Europe and the world that the hydrogen economy is real and can contribute significantly to the decarbonisation of the energy system and heavy industry.”

After a first round of decomissioning auctions, Moorburg was among the first coal power plants to stop selling electricity in Germany on the country's path towards a complete end to coal-fired power production by 2038 at the very latest, as defined in the country's coal exit law.

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