Green hydrogen production facility planned for Hamburg

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Vattenfall, Shell, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Hamburg’s municipal heat supplier, Hamburg Wärme, plan to build a 100 MW electrolyzer on the site of the former Moorburg coal-fired power plant. It would be the world’s largest, and would produce hydrogen from wind and solar power.

The companies plan to further develop the site into a “Green Energy Hub.” This depends on the companies’ ability to use existing infrastructure of the Moorburg location for the production of renewable energy. Concepts for the necessary logistics chains and storage options for hydrogen will also be considered. Subject to final investment decision and according to the current state of planning, once the site has been cleared, the production of green hydrogen is anticipated in the course of 2025, the companies said. Germany has pledged to invest €9 billion in the development of a green hydrogen economy.

“The establishment of a green hydrogen hub that is fully integrated into Hamburg’s industrial infrastructure would show Europe and the world that the hydrogen economy is real and can make a significant contribution to the decarbonization of the energy system and heavy industry,” said Kentaro Hosomi, president and CEO Energy Systems, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

The partners intend to apply for funding under the EU program Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI). This will likely take place in the first quarter of 2021 with the submission of a first outline of the project. The four partner companies view the energy location as having ideal conditions for further use. It is connected to both the national 380,000-volt transmission network and the 110,000-volt network of the city of Hamburg.


Ships can call at the location directly and use the quay and port facilities as an import terminal. The municipal gas network company also intends to expand a hydrogen network in the port within 10 years and is already working on the necessary distribution infrastructure. Numerous potential customers for green hydrogen are located near the site, thus enabling the project to cover the entire hydrogen value chain.

For many years, Moorburg was the site of a gas-fired power plant operated by Hamburgische Electricitäts-Werke, and Vattenfall had been operating a coal-fired power plant here since 2015. Its commercial operation was terminated after the power plant won a bid in the auction for the nationwide coal phase-out in December 2020. A decision by the transmission system operator on the system relevance of the plant is expected in March 2021.

“In the future, green hydrogen will play a very important role in the energy system and therefore also for us,” said Fabian Ziegler, CEO of Shell in Germany. “We keep an eye on the development of the entire value chain for hydrogen; from the entry into electricity production from offshore wind to the expansion of capacities for green hydrogen production as well as to the supply for mobility or transport applications and other industries. To achieve this, we need to and we want to collaborate with strong partners. We consider this project of the consortium of four together with the city of Hamburg to be exemplary.”