German utilities RWE and Innogy have embarked on a study investigating the feasibility of building an up-to 100 MW hydrogen plant on the site of the Eemshaven power station in the Netherlands.

The project is part of wider plans by both companies to play a key part in the growth of new, green energy technologies. It would use excess energy from the nearby 52-unit Westereems wind farm in Groningen to produce hydrogen for use in other parts of the energy value chain.

“RWE and innogy are focusing 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 CEO of RWE Generation SE. “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.”

Westereems wind farm, situated next to the Eemshaven power plant, is one of the largest onshore wind farms in the Netherlands. RWE and Innogy are planning to work with other partners in the coming months to work out the feasibility of the hydrogen plant itself. Research and development is still required, while the regulatory framework for such installations need to be adapted, they said in a statement.

“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 Hans Bünting, COO Renewables of innogy SE. “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.”

RWE and Innogy expect to announce their first findings in the autumn.