Plans for Hydrogen Plant and Green Hub in the Port of Hamburg

building hydrogen plant and green hub in prot of Hamburg
Port of Hamburg - Michael Linder photo

Published Jan 25, 2021 6:19 PM by The Maritime Executive

Plans were announced for the construction of one of Europe’s largest hydrogen projects along with the potential for the creation of a green energy hub located in the Port of Hamburg. The project, which could be operational in 2025, calls for the construction of a scalable electrolyzer with an initial output of 100 megawatts.

Shell and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, along with Sweden’s Vattenfall energy company and municipal company Wärme Hamburg sign a letter of intent for the project to produce hydrogen from wind and solar power at the site of the Hamburg-Moorburg power plant.

"For Hamburg as a city that embraces the energy transition, this agreement is a vital step. At the Moorburg site, we will be producing green hydrogen on a large scale in collaboration with experienced partners from industry, while at the same time establishing a Green Energy hub for climate-friendly energy,” said Jens Kerstan, Chairman of the Supervisory Boards of Wärme Hamburg GmbH and Gasnetz Hamburg GmbH. 

Kerstan who also serves as the Minister for the Environment and Energy for the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg noted the benefits of the site and its ability to contribute to reaching climate goals. The gas pipeline networks in the port and around Moorburg are now being expanded to accommodate hydrogen and to facilitate supplies to industry and large businesses, they explained. “The Hamburg Senate supports these efforts, and Hamburg's public companies play a decisive role in this," said the minister.



In addition to the construction of a scalable electrolyzer with an initial output of 100 megawatts, the further development of the site into a so-called "Green Energy Hub" is planned. This includes the exploration of the extent to which the existing infrastructure of the Moorburg location can be used for the production of energy from renewable sources.

The location near the port means that the ships can use the quay and port facilities as an import terminal. The municipal gas network company also intends to expand a hydrogen network in the port within ten years and is already working on the necessary distribution infrastructure. Numerous potential customers for green hydrogen are located near the site, thus enabling the project to cover the entire hydrogen value chain - from generation to storage, transport, and utilization in various sectors. 

The location targeted for the project was previously was the site of a gas-fired power plant operated by Hamburgische Electricitäts-Werke, and Vattenfall had also operated a coal-fired power plant here since 2015.  As such, it is connected to both the national 380,000 volt transmission network and the 110,000 volt network of the City of Hamburg.  Its commercial operation was terminated after the power plant won a bid in December 2020 in a nationwide auction for coal phase-out. A decision by the transmission system operator on the system relevance of the plant is expected in March 2021.

The partners intend to apply for funding under the EU program "Important Projects of Common European Interest" (IPCEI). This should take place in the first quarter of 2021 with the submission of a first outline of the project.