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Project targets production of hydrogen fuel at BP's Rotterdam refinery

Initiative to look into converting electricity into hydrogen transportation fuel.



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Updated on 20 Jan 2017 11:23 GMT

Six Rotterdam-based entities are to investigate how sustainably generated electricity, converted into hydrogen, can be used in the production of transportation fuel.

TNO, Stedin, Smartport, Uniper, BP Refinery Rotterdam and Port of Rotterdam Authority have agreed to investigate the technical and economic feasibility of a power-to-gas plant in the Rotterdam port area, as well as the necessary amendments to regulations. The parties above signed a cooperation agreement to this end on 18th January 2017.

The construction of wind farms in the North Sea means that a large amount of 'green electricity' will become available in the coming decades and will be landed via the Tennet grid at the Maasvlakte, among other places. Using electrolysis, this electricity can split water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen, which can then be used as a transport fuel or added to the gas grid.

An advantage of hydrogen is that it can be stored more easily than electricity, which allows peaks in the production of wind and solar energy to be absorbed. In addition, hydrogen is used in industrial processes, such as the one that this research initiative will focus on.

The refining of oil and the production of fuels require a lot of energy. Traditionally, fossil energy is used for this. The project partners will investigate whether it is commercially feasible to build a power-to-gas unit which can convert sustainably generated electricity into hydrogen and use this in the production process of the BP refinery in Rotterdam.

Project research is expected to be completed by mid-2017. By then, it is expected that the main challenges will be clearly defined, as well as the the modifications required for BP's production process, and the legal and regulatory hurdles.

TNO is to focus specifically on the regulations in the supply chain involving green hydrogen, as well as the synergies from hydrogen production and sustainable offshore wind energy generation.






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