Industry heavyweights Orsted and Equinor are among the latest group of companies joining the AquaVentus initiative that aims at producing up to one million tons of green hydrogen per year with power from North Sea wind farms.

The electricity to produce the green gas via electrolysis is slated to come from 10GW of wind farms between the German island of Heligoland and the Dogger sand bank in the middle of the North Sea, making it one of the world’s largest green hydrogen projects.

The number of companies in the AquaVentus group has now reached 50. Latest newcomers also include maritime service provider Royal Boskalis Westminster, certification specialist DNV and research institutes such as the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI).

"We are still met with great interest from industry, business and science," said Jörg Singer, chairman of the AquaVentus initiative and mayor of Heligoland.

"We are pleased about every new member who supports our plan to build a large-scale hydrogen park in the North Sea by 2035."

Singer cautioned that the massive project can only succeed if politics and authorities create a legal framework suitable for green hydrogen won from offshore wind.

With the newest entries to the initiative, rival energy companies already active in offshore wind are now part of AquaVentus – utilities RWE, EnBW and Orsted, and oil & gas majors Shell and Equinor.

Shell and RWE on Monday had said that together with German and Dutch gas operators they will step up their collaboration over a pipeline to transport hydrogen produced as part of AquaVentus to the German mainland grid in what could become the first hydrogen pipeline from the North Sea.

Equinor, Shell and RWE are also part of another mega project to produce green hydrogen from up to 10GW of offshore wind, the NortH2 project in the Dutch part of the North Sea, which also includes Gasunie.