RWE to Pick Electrolysis Provider for Lingen Hydrogen Project in 2021

ESSEN, Germany (Reuters) — RWE aims to pick a supplier of electrolysis capacity this year for a north-west German showcase project to develop clean hydrogen for delivery in 2024, a board member at its generation division told Reuters.

The German utility is holding talks with six short-listed candidates for an initial 100 megawatts of capacity, said Sopna Sury, in charge of hydrogen at RWE Generation.

"(We) want to place the order this year. It could be around November," she told Reuters in an interview.

Developments in clean hydrogen are being funded with billions of euros of public money under national and Europe-wide strategies to decarbonize energy generation.

It is produced in electrolysis plants, which use electrical current to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen, and intended for manufacturers that currently use fossil-based hydrogen, and possibly for direct use in heat and transport.

Sury did not name possible candidates for the plant at Lingen - an old power station site in the Ruhr, Germany's industrial heartland - but said capacity there could grow to 300 MW in 2026.

Electrolysis makers include Siemens Energy, ITM Power, and NEL.

The 100 MW installation, embedded in one of a total 30 RWE hydrogen projects, could cost around 100 million euros ($117 million), experts estimate, and Lingen would be one of the first plants of that size.

It is at the core of Get H2, a hydrogen project that RWE is developing with industry partners.

Sury said RWE wanted to act as operator, was not interested in acquiring electrolysis makers, and needed public funding to cover perhaps 30-40% of the project's capital costs and enable regulatory snags over transport and power origins to be cleared up.

RWE will supply the power for Get H2 and produce and market the hydrogen while grid companies OGE, nowega, Thyssengas, and Gascade transport it. Industry partners BP, Salzgitter Evonik, BASF and Thyssenkrupp use it.

Thyssenkrupp is considering selling a stake or bringing in a strategic partner to its hydrogen unit Uhde Chlorine Engineers (TKUCE).

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