RWE, Shell, Gasunie and Equinor have joined hands to develop AquaSector, a project to produce up to 20,000 tonnes of green hydrogen using an electrolyser offshore which will be transported to mainland Germany via pipelines
RWE, Shell, Gasunie and Equinor have collaborated to develop Germany’s AquaSector project: a new initiative to produce hydrogen offshore at a large scale, which will be transported onshore via pipelines. The partners consider AquaSector a ‘proof of concept’ initiative for the AquaVentus project ecosystem, which has envisioned the production of up to 10GW of green hydrogen by 2035 which will be transported to mainland Germany via pipelines. A similar project based in Netherlands (known as PosHYdon) has recently been awarded a €3.6 million subsidy.
The AquaSector project will involve the installation of a 300MW electrolyser on a specially designed offshore vessel. Using renewable energy, the electrolyser will produce up to 20,000 tonnes of green hydrogen. A pipeline, called AquaDuctus will be used to transport the fuel to Heligoland in Germany. The project is expected to begin operations in 2028. This will be Germany’s first and Europe’s second such attempt to produce green hydrogen offshore and transport it to land via pipelines.
The biggest advantage of such an offshore, large-scale green hydrogen production facility is its cost-effectiveness. Currently, the production of green hydrogen (on land) is weighed down by high production costs. The capacity of this project and its transportation via pipeline will be sufficient to replace 5 High Voltage Direct Current transmission systems. If successful, this mode of production will be the most cost-effective option to produce and transport large volumes of sustainably produced energy over long distances.
Partners in the AquaSector project will now conduct an extensive feasibility study. The study will enable them to understand and prepare for the technical and commercial challenges that lie in front of them. The project is expected to be a critical starting point for other corporations and governments around the world who are keen on exploring green hydrogen production. It is also a key milestone in the hydrogen strategy chalked out by Germany and the European Union.