German utility RWE and its Innogy unit are investigating the large-scale production of green hydrogen in the Dutch province of Groningen.

As a first step, the companies are starting a feasibility study to build an up to 100MW hydrogen plant on the site of RWE’s Eemshaven power station, which is close to Innogy’s Westesreems wind farm that would supply the renewable electricity.

“RWE and Innogy focus on climate friendly technologies. The CO2 reduction targets in transport, heat supply and industry can only be achieved if the sector coupling is promoted and emission-free energy sources are used,” said Roger Miesen, Dutch chief executive of RWE Generation.

“We are convinced that green hydrogen will be an important component of a secured and clean energy supply for these sectors. This is why we start this project in line with similar projects in Germany like GET H2 in Lingen.”

The first findings of the study in collaboration with other partners and regional and national authorities will be expected in the autumn.

In addition, the regulatory framework has to be adapted since under current regulation the technology is not competitive yet, the utilities say.

The Netherlands during current society-wide negotiations over a new energy and climate plan are discussing linking renewable energy output – in particular from offshore wind farms - to hydrogen production.

With 52 turbines, the Westereems Wind Farm, which is located next to the Eemshaven power station, is currently one of the largest onshore wind farms (> 100 MW) in the Netherlands, the utilities said.

“With the current Dutch offshore wind ambitions, conversion of large volumes of surplus wind power into a storable commodity like green hydrogen can be a cost effective solution for society, large energy consumers and other industrial users of hydrogen,” said Innogy chief operating officer Hans Bünting.

“As a major player in offshore and onshore wind we believe we can better start investigating power-to-hydrogen as one technical solution of power-to-X right now than waiting. Learning experiences are necessary therefore and our Westereems Wind Farm can provide a perfect fit for a large scale demonstration project.”