The companies Shell, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Vattenfall and municipal heat supplier Wärme Hamburg are planning how they can produce hydrogen in the future from wind and solar power together at the Hamburg-Moorburg power plant site and then use it in the surrounding area. To this end the four companies have now signed a letter of intent. As well as constructing an electrolyser with a scalable 100 megawatt output, there are also plans to turn the site into a so-called “Green Energy Hub” in the future. They also intend to examine the extent to which the Moorburg site’s existing infrastructure can be used in the future for power generation from renewable energy sources. More advanced concepts such as the necessary logistics chains and storage for hydrogen will also be taken into consideration. Subject to a final investment decision and according to the current state of planning, once the site has been cleared, the production of green hydrogen is anticipated in the course of 2025. This would make the electrolyser one of the largest plants in Europe.
The partners intend to apply for funding under the EU programme "Important Projects of Common European Interest" (IPCEI). Submission of an initial outline of the project is planned for the first quarter of 2021. The four partner companies view the energy site as having ideal conditions for further use. It is connected to both the national 380,000 volt transmission network and the 110,000 volt network of the City of Hamburg. Moreover, overseas ships can sail right up to the site and use the quay and port facilities as an import terminal. The municipal gas network company also intends to expand a hydrogen network in the port within ten years and is already working on the necessary distribution infrastructure. Numerous potential customers for green hydrogen are located near the site, thus meaning that the entire hydrogen value chain – from generation to storage, transport and practical use in various sectors – can be represented locally. These conditions mean the Moorburg site in Hamburg and northern Germany is ideal and can become a potential starting point for the expansion of a hydrogen economy.
For many years Moorburg was the site of a gas-fired power plant operated by Hamburgische Electricitäts-Werke; in 2015 Vattenfall commenced the operation of a coal-fired power plant here. Its commercial operation was terminated after the power plant had its bid approved in the auction for the nationwide phase-out of coal in December 2020. A decision by the transmission system operator on the system relevance of the plant is expected in March 2021. The City of Hamburg and Vattenfall are striving to clear [partial] areas of the site as soon as possible for the project to produce green hydrogen and a Green Energy Hub to be developed.
In their efforts to form a consortium, the four companies can also count on the support of the Hamburg Senate. In their coalition agreement, the coalition parties agreed to examine and promote the feasibility of sector coupling and the establishment of hydrogen production at the site.