Orsted has unveiled another gigawatt-scale plan to use giant offshore wind farms in the North Sea for production of green hydrogen that is slated to be supplied to one of Europe’s largest industrial clusters in the Dutch-Belgian border region, around the Rhine and Meuse river delta.

ArcelorMittal, Yara, Dow Benelux, and Zeeland Refinery said they will support the development of the required regional infrastructure to use the green H2 for the sustainable production of steel, ammonia, ethylene, and fuels in the future.

Orsted said its ‘SeaH2Land’ vision includes a 1GW electrolyser to produce green hydrogen from a new 2GW wind farm in the Dutch part of the North Sea, both of which would be developed by the Danish offshore wind champion by 2030.

The facility – if realised – could convert to renewable hydrogen about 20% of the current hydrogen consumption in the region of the Dutch-Flemish so-called ‘North Sea Port cluster’. The region includes the Dutch province of Zeeland, and Belgian cities such as Antwerp or Ghent, which are slated to be linked by a hydrogen pipeline.

“The Dutch-Flemish North Sea Port covers one of the largest [fossil] hydrogen clusters in Europe,” Orsted chief commercial officer Martin Neubert said.

“As the world looks to decarbonise, it's paramount that we act now to secure the long-term competitiveness of European industry in a green economy. The SeaH2Land project outlines a clear vision and roadmap for large-scale renewable hydrogen linked to new offshore wind capacity.”

The cluster currently has a consumption of 580,000 tonnes of fossil hydrogen. Industrial demand could grow to about 1 million tonnes by 2050, equivalent to roughly 10GW of electrolysis if the gas were to be produced from renewables, Orsted explained.

The 2GW wind farm for the first gigawatt of electrolysers could be built in the one of the zones of the southern part of the Dutch exclusive economic zone that has already been designated for offshore wind development.

The industrial players in the region are united in the Smart Delta Resources (SDR) industry group, which is in a dialogue with regional transmission system operators to develop an open-access pipeline grid of about 45 kilometres between the North Sea Port area from Vlissingen-Oost in the Netherlands to Ghent in Belgium.

Subject to a regulatory framework, the regional network will unlock a first phase of the project with 500MW electrolyser capacity. To scale that up to 1GW in electrolyser capacity, SeaH2Land in a second phase will need to be linked to a Dutch national hydrogen backbone, to provide additional flexibility and storage.

“Our ambition is to build a hydrogen pipeline between Dow in Terneuzen and ArcelorMittal in Ghent. We also aim to increase the use of green hydrogen, and for this our collaboration with Orsted is an important step,” said Manfred Van Vlierberghe, chief executive in Belgium for ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel maker outside China.

After feasibility studies have been carried out, North Sea Port would take the lead in developing the regional infrastructure in close collaboration with the TSO’s and regional governments.

"As one of the largest consumers of hydrogen, Yara welcomes visionary initiatives that can spur the development of a green hydrogen market in the Zeeland region,” said Michael Schlaug, plant manger at Yara Sluiskil.

Yara is the world’s leading producer of ammonia.