Two New Partnerships Show Promise of Hydrogen Power in Europe

Courtesy H2GS

Published Jun 26, 2023 11:47 PM by The Maritime Executive

Two newly-announced projects add to a growing list of hydrogen-propulsion partnerships in Northern Europe. In Boden, Sweden and Duisburg, Germany, H2 suppliers and shipping companies have announced additional initiatives to bring this green fuel to the maritime market. 

Swedish ferry operator Gotland Company announced Monday that it has reached an offtake agreement with hydrogen producer H2 Green Steel (H2GS). H2GS is the developer of a massive electrolyzer plant in Boden, a town in northern Sweden. The 700 MW plant will be among the largest in the world, and it will primarily supply a carbon-neutral steel mill. 

Leveraging H2GS' experience in green H2 project development, the two companies are conducting a feasibility study to evaluate how to supply green H2 to power Gotland's future fleet. The ferry operator is currently developing two newbuilds designed to run on hydrogen, with an objective of having at least one ship operational by 2030. About 20,000 tonnes of hydrogen per year will be required to operate the company's route between the island of Gotland and the mainland. 

"Collaborating with Gotland Company signifies expanding our competence in large scale hydrogen production beyond iron and steel. Joining forces with a Swedish partner sharing our passion for climate change matters and acting as the front runner to reduce emissions in the important ecosystem in the waters around Sweden, naturally feels especially strong and relevant," said Kajsa Ryttberg-Wallgren, Head of Hydrogen Business at H2 Green Steel. 

The scope of the feasibility study includes the evaluation of infrastructure required to produce and transport the hydrogen for Gotland's operations. About 30 MW of electrolyzer capacity will be required, a small fraction of H2GS' total installed base. 

Inland hydrogen power

Meanwhile, in the inland hub of Duisburg, Germany, port operator Duisport is in talks with H2 producer Lhyfe on the possibility of building a midsize green hydrogen production plant. 

The proposal envisions a 20 MW electrolyzer complex located in Duisburg-Hochfeld's outer harbor, a few miles to the south of the main terminal area on the Rhine. This site currently handles coal, and the transformation would be pragmatic as well as symbolic: coal volumes are in decline. 

Three local businesses have declared an intent to offtake H2 from the plant if it is built, including the future Duisburg Gateway Terminal, a carbon neutral container facility that will be built on the site of a former coal pier. Hydrogen is an integral part of the new container terminal's development plan, and its success is key for Duisport's transition away from coal cargoes. 

All that is needed is a better grid connection to carry enough green electricity to the development site, and two utilities have agreed to take care of the power supply. 

Duisport and Lhyfe have announced the launch of a feasibility study for the project, and it could be in operation as early as 2025. 

"The construction of the first large-scale electrolyser in the Port of Duisburg would be a milestone on the way to decarbonising the domestic economy and industry," said Duisport CEO Markus Bangen. "At the same time, we are fulfilling our promise not only to build the largest container terminal in the European hinterland with the Duisburg Gateway Terminal, but also to operate it in a completely climate-neutral manner."