Authorities give go-ahead for RWE’s hydrogen generation plant in Germany

Energy giant RWE has been given the green light to develop a hydrogen generation plant in Germany. 

The GET H2 Nukleus hydrogen project has had permission granted from the relevant authority in Oldenburg for the construction and operation of the first two 100-megawatt (MW) electrolysers on the site of the RWE gas-fired power plant in Lingen. 

Permission has been granted to the operating company Nukleus Green H2 - a subsidy of RWE.

The 200-MW plant will be able to produce up to 35,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year. 

The hydrogen is intended to enable industrial companies to significantly reduce their carbon emissions. 

The electrolyser project in Lingen is the first production plant for hydrogen in Germany of this size.

Seven months after the Oldenburg Trade Inspectorate confirmed the completeness of the submitted 2,250-page application document, it now issued the certificate of approval. 

Sopna Sury, COO hydrogen at RWE Generation SE, said: “The approval for our plant is the result of constructive and intensive work, not least on the part of the authorities involved, who never had to examine a hydrogen project of this size before. 

“Seven months from submitting the complete application to approval is a reference value that gives rise to optimism for the ramp-up of the hydrogen economy in Germany.”

In Germany, approval on the basis of the Federal Emission Control Act is a prerequisite for such large-scale plants being built and operated.

All relevant potential effects, such as emissions, must be examined thoroughly in the process. 

The 78-page approval document issued by the authority specifies exactly which technical, organisational and environmental requirements must be met during construction and operation.

The Lingen site plays a key part in RWE’s hydrogen strategy. 

There, the company wants to install hydrogen generating capacities of 300 megawatts in 100-megawatt increments by 2027 as part of the GET H2 project. 

At the end of 2023, RWE will already commission a 14-megawatt pilot plant in Lingen to test the use of two electrolyser technologies (PEM and pressurised alkali) that are being considered for future hydrogen projects.

GET H2 Nukleus is among the large-scale hydrogen projects that were nominated in 2021 by the German government and the federal states for funding under the Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) programme. 

However, as of yet, a binding commitment for funding has not been made. 

In January, the operating company ordered the first two 100-megawatt electrolysers to ensure that the planned commissioning dates can still be achieved should funding be granted. 

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