The aim is to produce a detailed roadmap by early 2021, which will include consideration of potential upgrades and R&D programmes needed to increase the use of hydrogen in Uniper’s extensive fleet of GE gas turbines.

“From now on, our investments will focus primarily on the further decarbonisation of gas assets”, said Andreas Schierenbeck, CEO of Uniper, “which could include post combustion CCUS as well as blue or green hydrogen…If we also succeed in using our gas storage facilities to a large extent for hydrogen, we will be closer to a solution to the core problem of the European energy transformation: the lack of storage capacity for fluctuating renewables on an industrial scale.”

Back in April 2020, Uniper announced a similar decarbonisation co-operation agreement with Siemens, focusing on the use of green hydrogen and sector coupling, and including evaluation of the potential for using hydrogen in Uniper’s existing gas turbines and hydrogen storage in existing gas storage facilities, as well as defining “what role hydrogen can play in the future evolution of Uniper’s coal power plants.” Uniper is committed to closing or converting its coal-fired power plants in Europe by 2025 at the latest.

In addition, “the decarbonisation of the gas industry, including gas-fired power generation, is essential if Germany and Europe are to achieve their climate targets”, noted Andreas Schierenbeck.

“Our future lies in hydrogen. This is what we are committed to as a company,” said Jochen Eickholt, Siemens Energy executive board member. He also emphasised the importance of ‘brownfield transformationʼ, of the kind being considered by Uniper.