UK-based chemicals giant Ineos has announced what it claims to be the largest investment in green hydrogen production planned in Europe so far, with €2bn ($2.3bn) of investment earmarked for electrolysis projects at its sites across Europe.

The company said it intends to build renewable hydrogen plants in Norway, Germany and Belgium over the next 10 years, with unspecified further investment also planned in the UK and France.

The Norwegian plant will be the first, with Ineos building a 20MW electrolyser that it claims will help cut the carbon footprint of its petrochemical complex at Rafnes by at least 22,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum.

It will then turn its attention to a 100MW electrolyser project in Germany to further decarbonise its operations in Cologne by more than 120,000 tpa of CO2.

Hydrogen from the Koln site will be used to produce green ammonia, while Ineos says it will also open opportunities to develop e-fuels through power-to-methanol applications on an industrial scale.

“Green hydrogen represents one of our best chances to create a more sustainable and low carbon world,” said Ineos chairman Jim Ratcliffe.

“Europe is crying out for more investment in green hydrogen and Ineos’ announcement today shows our determination to play a leading role in this important new fuel.”

Ineos already claims to be Europe’s largest operator of electrolysis via its Inovyn subsidiary, and also has a history of storing and handling hydrogen, with the company producing over 300,000 tonnes of H2 per annum, mainly as a co-product from its chemical manufacturing operations.

The company's fresh investment in green hydrogen follows its announcement last month it would be spending about £1bn ($1.4bn) to reduce emissions from its Grangemouth refinery and petrochemical plant in Scotland, in combination with the Acorn carbon capture and storage project.

Ineos is looking to cut emissions from the site by 60% by 2030, with plans to initially produce blue hydrogen, however the company has not ruled out introducing green hydrogen production at the site in the future as it targets net zero emissions at Grangemouth by 2045.

Ineos launched a new business last year as part of the company’s strategy to build clean green hydrogen capacity across Europe, both at Ineos’ own sites and at potential partner sites.

Ineos said Monday it expects to announce partnerships with “leading organisations involved in the development of new hydrogen applications”, without providing further details.

The company also intends to work closely with European governments to ensure the necessary infrastructure is put in place to assist the emerging hydrogen economy.

This article first appeared in Upstream