Equinor, RWE to develop hydrogen-fueled power plants

By Keefe Borden10 January 2023

(Map: Equinor.)

Equinor and Germany’s RWE have agreed to develop large scale projects for low carbon hydrogen that would ultimately replace coal-fired power plants with hydrogen-ready power plants. The two companies plan to produce clean hydrogen in Norway and ship it via pipeline to Gemany, where it would be used to produce energy, the two companies announced.

The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly develop large-scale energy value chains, building on the partnership between Norway and Germany and the long-term relationship between Equinor and RWE.

The two companies plan to build new gas power plants (CCGTs), which would help Germany phase out the use of coal to generate electriity. Equinor and RWE will jointly own the CCGTs which initially will be fueled with natural gas and then gradually use hydrogen as fuel with the ambition of fully to be run on hydrogen when volumes and technology are available.

The two companies plan to build facilities in Norway to produce low carbon hydrogen from natural gas with CCS. More than 95 percent of the CO2 will be captured and stored safely and permanently under the seabed offshore Norway. Joint development of offshore wind farms that will enable production of renewable hydrogen as fuel for power and other industrial customers in the future.

“Through this collaboration we will strengthen the long-term energy security for Europe’s leading industrial country while at the same time offer a viable route to a necessary energy transition for hard to abate industries. The collaboration has the potential to develop Norway into a key supplier of hydrogen to Germany and Europe. This is a unique opportunity to build a hydrogen industry in Norway where hydrogen also can be used as feedstock to domestic industries,” said Anders Opedal, Equinor’s CEO and president.

There is an “urgent need” to build up the hydrogen economy, said Markus Krebber, CEO of RWE.

“Blue hydrogen in large quantities can make a start, with subsequent conversion into green hydrogen supply. This is exactly what we are driving forward with our partnership – providing the industries with relevant quantities of hydrogen,” he said.

Germany’s government has stated it intends to phase out all coal-fired power plants by 2030. Several projects for building new hydrogen-ready powerplants in Germany have been identified, replacing existing power production from coal. Until large-scale hydrogen production is developed, the power plants will be fueled by natural gas from Equinor.

Industrial scale and reliable supply of hydrogen to Germany and the EU, depends on the construction of a hydrogen pipeline from Norway to Germany. This is currently under evaluation by Gassco and partners in the context of the German-Norwegian feasibility study. The pipeline would initially transport low carbon hydrogen, produced by capturing more than 95 percent of the CO2 from natural gas, using existing and proven technologies, Equinor stated.

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