Seven companies are interlinking their planned hydrogen projects in northwest Germany

The companies bp, Gasunie, Nowega, NWO, Salzgitter, Thyssengas and Uniper linking up and networking their hydrogen projects in northwest Germany. The aim of the alliance is to connect Wilhelmshaven as a future location for the import and production of hydrogen with the industrial consumption centers in North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony.

While bp and Uniper are planning various projects in Wilhelmshaven for the import and production of hydrogen, Gasunie, Nowega, NWO and Thyssengas are contributing existing transport pipelines as well as plans for new H2 pipelines to be built in connection with the overall project. A north-south corridor between Wilhelmshaven and the Cologne chemical industry region and a west-east corridor extending between Wilhelmshaven and Salzgitter will be used to link up other companies to the hydrogen infrastructure in the Rhine-Ruhr region and in Salzgitter (Lower Saxony) – in addition to the hydrogen consumption sites of the bp and Salzgitter companies. In this context, the companies involved have signed a letter of intent. By way of these cooperation activities implemented within the legal and regulatory framework, the project partners are supporting the German government’s ambitious goals of making Germany climate-neutral by 2045.

Integrated project planning along the H2 value chain
The companies are participating in the alliance with their various hydrogen projects. As a result, the planned projects map and represent the entire H2 value chain. In detail, the roles are distributed as follows:

bp and Uniper, as industrial producers and consumers of hydrogen, both intend to build an ammonia import terminal at the Wilhelmshaven site. The imported ammonia supplied is then to be broken down into hydrogen and nitrogen on site by a thermo-chemical process (“cracking”), thereby recovering the green hydrogen bound in the ammonia. Ammonia as an H2 carrier enables the efficient transport of low-carbon hydrogen by ship over longer distances for final use in Germany. Uniper is also planning to build a large-scale electrolysis plant in Wilhelmshaven, which will produce green hydrogen harnessing offshore wind power from the North Sea. Both bp and Uniper have submitted their projects to the European Commission as Projects of Mutual Interest (PMI) and Projects of Common Interest (PCI), respectively. The decision on recognition is expected to be handed down this year.

At the end of February, Gasunie and Thyssengas publicly announced their plans for an H2 north-south corridor between Wilhelmshaven and the Cologne chemical region. The approximately 400-kilometer-long transport link is to be put in place by 2028 by converting existing transport pipelines and building new ones. Both Gasunie and Thyssengas have submitted PCI (Projects of Common Interest) applications to the European Commission for their respective sub-sections. By way of a connection to the Hyperlink hydrogen network planned by Gasunie in the north and the sub-projects of the GET H2 hydrogen initiative for which Nowega and Thyssengas are responsible, the planned north-south corridor will make a significant contribution to the development of an integrated hydrogen network. This will reach both the bp refineries in the Emsland and Ruhr regions and many other potential H2 consumers along the route. In addition, Gasunie and Nowega are responsible for building the necessary west-east corridor to connect the partner and hydrogen consumer Salzgitter.

The infrastructure operators Nowega and NWO are also contributing parts of their existing pipeline network to the alliance. The conversion of the existing pipelines by Nowega and NWO significantly reduces the need for new construction while enabling large-scale accessibility of additional feeders and outfeeders.