UK supermajor BP has partnered with Danish energy giant Orsted to develop a green hydrogen development in Germany.

The two have signed a letter of intent to work together on the development of an industrial-scale green hydrogen production project.

The proposed Lingen green hydrogen project would see the construction of an initial 50-megawatt electrolyser and associated infrastructure at BP’s existing Lingen refinery in north-west Germany, powered by an Orsted wind farm in the North Sea.

BP and Orsted will also look to maximise the efficiency of the project’s electrolysis system, including assessing sustainable uses for the main by-products of the process — primarily oxygen and low-grade excess heat.

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The development would have the capacity to produce nearly 9000 tonnes per annum of green hydrogen and replace about 20% of the Lingen refinery’s current grey hydrogen consumption, resulting in a reduction of about 80,000 tpa of carbon dioxide.

The duo also have a longer-term ambition to build more than 500 megawatts of renewable-powered electrolysis capacity at Lingen, which could provide green hydrogen to both meet all the refinery’s hydrogen demand and provide feedstock for potential future synthetic fuel production.

Development plan: BP and Orsted's planned Lingen green hydrogen project Photo: BP

“Heavy industries such as refineries use large quantities of hydrogen in their manufacturing processes. They will continue to need hydrogen, but replacing the current fossil-based hydrogen with hydrogen produced from renewable energy can help these industries dramatically lower their CO2 footprint,” chief executive of offshore wind for Orsted, Martin Neubert, said.

“But first, renewable hydrogen has to become cost competitive with fossil-based hydrogen, and for that we need projects such as this with BP’s Lingen refinery, which will demonstrate the electrolyser technology at large scale and showcase real-life application of hydrogen based on offshore wind.”

BP’s executive vice president for gas and low carbon, Dev Sanyal, added that the UK company was determined to build a leading position in the emerging hydrogen industry.

“Bringing together Orsted and BP, Lingen Green Hydrogen offers the opportunity both to accelerate significant emissions reduction in our refinery and build experience of large-scale green hydrogen production and deployment,” he said.

“This has the potential to play an important role in the development of a hydrogen economy, in Germany and beyond.”

The companies intend to make a final investment decision on the Lingen green hydrogen project in early 2022, with green hydrogen production potentially starting by 2024. They have also applied for funding for the project from the EU Innovation Fund — one of the world’s largest funding programmes for demonstration of innovative low-carbon technologies.