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What could be the worlds largest Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) electrolyser which would produce hydrogen gas from water is being planned at a refinery complex in Germany.
The 10 MW PEM electrolyser is planned for the Wesseling refinery site in Shells Rheinland Refinery Complex in Western Germany. Partners Shell and ITM Power say that the electrolyser project aims to prove the technology at this scale and to provide hydrogen made from renewable energy for use at the refinery.
Shell, through Shell Deutschland and Shell Energy Europe, with consortium partners ITM Power, SINTEF, thinkstep and Element Energy, are progressing the project under the European Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking (FCH 2 JU), following a competitive call for proposals.
The Rheinland refinery uses around 180,000 tonnes of hydrogen per year, which is currently produced as a by-product of refining processes, or through natural gas reforming.
The electrolyser would use electrolysis to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, resulting in fossil fuel-free hydrogen. The project aims to demonstrate the technology as well as cost improvements through upscaling.
Hydrogen from the electrolyser would be integrated into refinery processes, and its location will allow the refinery to later expand its facilities to supply hydrogen to potential new customers, says Shell.
Decarbonising hydrogen production in the chemical and refining industries worldwide is potentially a very large market, said ITM Power CEO, Dr Graham Cooley.
This pioneering project with Shell aims to demonstrate what can be achieved using our industrial scale electrolysers which can also use low-cost renewable energy and help to balance electricity grids.
" Meanwhile, ITM Power is also involved in what will be the first hydrogen bus route in France, in the city of Pau. The route is expected to be in operation in September 2019 and eight hydrogen fuel cell buses will take passengers from the hospital to the railway station. Project partners include the bus manufacturer Van Hool, SMTU-PPP, Engie and ITM Power. Engie, via its GNVERT subsidiary, will provide the fuelling station, with the hydrogen produced onsite via an ITM Power PE.