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Transforming Wilhelmshaven into a green energy hub and paving the way for a carbon neutral future

Today, the German port of Wilhelmshaven is an important centre for the import of coal and oil. Its potential for green energy carriers has yet to be realised.

The Green Wilhelmshaven project will establish an energy hub for the large-scale import and production of green hydrogen. This is part of Unipers commitment to making our power generation portfolio in Europe carbon-neutral by 2035.

our Vision

Uniper is transforming Wilhelmshaven into a central energy hub for the import and production of green hydrogen-based energy sources.

To reach its net zero targets, Germany needs large amounts of green energy sources. Currently, it cannot produce enough renewable electricity by itself and therefore energy imports and the expansion of offshore wind farms in the German North Sea are vital. Investing in both the import and production of renewable energy carriers ensures diversification and means that Germany can avoid one-sided dependencies on energy supplies in the future.

With Green Wilhelmshaven, we will help ensure the security of supply of Germany and large parts of continental Europe. Furthermore, this large-scale project will also support local value creation not only by creating new jobs within the region and will drive forward the energy transition in Germany.

Uniper will utilise these advantages to develop its Wilhelmshaven sites into a significant hydrogen supply hub for customers all over Germany.

To operate as a major landing and production site for hydrogen, Wilhelmshaven will require an efficient hydrogen infrastructure. This will be achieved by the construction of new dedicated hydrogen pipelines making the location fit for the future of a hydrogen economy.

End-users of our products are industrial off-takers all over Germany. We expect initial demand for green hydrogen from steel producers , the chemical industry and refineries. With the expanding German hydrogen backbone, customers in Lower-Saxony and other parts of Germany will be supplied from Wilhelmshaven.

The Wilhelmshaven site

The import of coal and oil and the operation of two coal-fired power plants have long distinguished Wilhelmshaven as a leading German energy hub.

With the decommission of coal-fired power plants and decarbonisation of energy imports, Wilhelmshaven is now facing a major transformation as an energy and industrial location, with enormous opportunities to become a hub for green energy sources for the whole of Germany. This will in turn transform and strengthen the region economically.

Wilhelmshaven has several unique qualities which make it suitable for such a hub.

As Germany’s only deep-water port, on the German North Sea coast, Wilhelmshaven offers easy access for large vessels to import hydrogen in the form of ammonia.

The port is also set to be the landing point for major offshore wind farms due to be erected in the German North Sea d, making it ideal for large electrolysers.

Further advantages of the region include its proximity to nearby salt caverns such as Etzel or Krummhörn used for large-scale storage of hydrogen and the early connection to the hydrogen pipeline for the European Hydrogen Backbone project.

Other activities in the region outline the vast potential of the unique location of Wilhelmshaven. Uniper proudly supports and engages in projects like the Energy-Hub Port of WHV.

As Germany’s only deep-water port, on the German North Sea coast, Wilhelmshaven offers easy access for large vessels to import hydrogen in the form of ammonia.

Our project

Green Wilhelmshaven will see both the construction of an ammonia import terminal and a 1GW electrolysis plant for the production of hydrogen. The electrolyser, in combination with the import terminal would be capable of supplying around 300,000 metric tons of hydrogen, or 10-20% of the demand expected for all of Germany in 2030.

Green Wilhelmshaven is Uniper’s flagship hydrogen project.

Uniper could supply between 10-20% of the entire German hydrogen demand by 2030 from Wilhelmshaven.

Why ammonia?

  • By 2030, The German Federal Government predicts that demand for hydrogen could grow to 90-110 TWh/a.
  • Large-scale imports are necessary since domestic production capacities for green hydrogen are not sufficient.
  • Ammonia is the more easily transportable form of hydrogen via large-scale ships to Germany and Europe. Other transport vectors like liquefied hydrogen (LH2) or liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHC) are expected to remain in the development stage for several years, and shipping capacities are limited.
  • Since ammonia is an important feedstock for various industrial processes, a well-developed market already exists (around 180mt annual consumption worldwide).
  • Handling, transportation, storage and usage of ammonia are well-established processes, with high safety standards. 

Why electrolysis?

  • Electrolysis is used to convert the abundant but unpredictable wind energy into hydrogen. This can be transported and stored very efficiently.
  • Offshore wind energy is landing on the German North Sea coast (current expansion targets of the German government: 2GW). However, onward transport to the south is complex and expensive with new power lines needed.
  • Large-scale electrolysis in Wilhelmshaven can directly absorb significant amounts of wind power and convert it into hydrogen.
  • The electrolysis and the entire downstream hydrogen infrastructure act as a “shock absorber”, which stores the wind energy as hydrogen and makes it transportable during strong wind conditions.

Uniper’s large-scale electrolyser will be optimised to serve several purposes:

  • It needs to produce large volumes of hydrogen in an economical way.
  • It can play a significant role for the operation of the regional power grid.
  • Transmission system operator (TSO)swill benefit from the fact that the electrolyser can be flexibly adjusted to the situation in the grid: If there is too much power being generated on a windy day, the production rate of the electrolyser can be increased thus relieving the load on the electrical power grid.
  • On days with too little generation of green electricity, the production rate of the electrolyser can be lowered to consume less power.
  • In order to fully utilise these grid-serving capabilities of the electrolyser, Uniper and TSOs will work closely together to ensure the full integration of both systems.

Green Wilhelmshaven is Uniper’s flagship hydrogen project.

Green Wilhelmshaven is listed in the Ten-Year Network Development Plan (TYNDP) for 2022 published by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSOG). This not only marks a major milestone in the project’s development, but it also demonstrates its relevance in European climate and energy ambitions. 

The TYNDP is published biennially in accordance with EU regulation to map current and future European gas infrastructure as well as possible development scenarios. The Plan also includes security of European gas supply and network stability. Projects listed in the TYNDP are vetted thoroughly by ENTSOG and are critical for long-term development of European energy supply. 

As a key cross border infrastructure project, Green Wilhelmshaven advances the linkage of energy systems in Europe and thus proves to be of pan-European importance. The amounts of renewable energy generated as well as supplied by Green Wilhelmshaven significantly bolster energy stability and advance sustainability. 

Energy-Hub - Port of Wilhelmshaven

In 2020, a group of companies, organisations and regional stakeholders formed the “ENERGY-HUB Port of Wilhelmshaven” initiative. Its goal is to put Wilhelmshaven on the European energy map and strengthen its role as a source for conventional and green energy for the region and the whole of Germany. The members of the “ENERGY-HUB Port of Wilhelmshaven” initiative are active in the import, production, storage and transportation of hydrogen and hydrogen derivatives, natural gas, oil, coal and the generation of renewable energies. For more information on the initiative go to www.energyhub-wilhelmshaven.de.

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