Uniper, a subsidiary of Finnish utility Fortum, is developing an import terminal at Wilhelmshaven capable of converting green ammonia back into hydrogen, and also plans to build an electrolysis plant at the site to produce green hydrogen itself with a capacity of up to 1GW.
The company also wants to explore the possibility to directly connect the plant to an offshore wind farm in the North Sea.
“The Wilhelmshaven site offers all the necessary preconditions for creating Germany’s first major hydrogen hub,” Uniper chief executive Klaus-Dieter Maubach said.
“Large-scale hydrogen production facilities are to be built here for the purpose of decarbonizing steel production in Lower Saxony. We also want to develop a solution that will enable the faster integration of the new gigawatt offshore wind farm into the German power grid."
The electrolyser and the entire downstream hydrogen infrastructure function similar to a shock absorber that - if strong winds blow - can store the wind energy expediently as hydrogen and make it transportable, Uniper explained.
The companies for the supply of Salzgitter through the evolving German hydrogen pipeline network and the development of cavern storage facilities also will be cooperating with additional partners.
“The secure and economically viable sourcing of green hydrogen is a fundamental prerequisite on our journey toward SALCOS – Salzgitter Low CO2-Steelmaking,” Salzgitter CEO Gunnar Groebler said.
“The cooperation with Uniper is another step on the way to leading this game-changing technical transformation to success, together with strong partners."
Salzgitter last month had already announced a strategic partnership with Orsted that includes the supply of offshore wind power and use of renewable hydrogen, with production of low-carbon steel that can be used in the components of Orsted’s wind farms at sea.