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The company views blue hydrogen as a means of bridging the gap between expected green hydrogen supply and anticipated demand, reducing the need for imports.

By Joseph Murphy

Germany's Wintershall Dea has brought on board oil pipeline operator North-West Nord-West Oelleitung (NWO) as a partner at its blue hydrogen project in Wilhelmshaven, it announced on August 5.

The BlueHyNow project will produce 200,000 m3 of hydrogen/hour, or 5.6 TWh annually, providing fuel to decarbonise energy-intensive industries in the area. Wintershall has signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on the project with NWO, which has unused pipeline infrastructure in the region and a site in the Wilhelmshaven deepwater port. The pair will also undertake a feasibility study by the end of the year.

"NWO and Wintershall Dea complement each other perfectly," the former's chief technology officer Hugo Dijkgraaf said in a statement. "Along the value chain, from production of hydrogen to its distribution to consumers, we want to pull together as partners in the future and accelerate the development of the urgently needed hydrogen network."

The hydrogen plant will use Norwegian gas that is brought ashore at Wilhelmshaven as its feedstock. The port also hosts two proposed LNG import terminals, backed by Uniper and Tree Energy Solutions.

Wintershall has strongly advocated for blue hydrogen development in Germany, whose government has largely focused instead on the deployment of green hydrogen, derived from water using renewable energy-powered electrolysis.

While German hydrogen demand is set to grow to 90-100 TWh/year by 2030, its government estimates that only 28 TWh/yr of green hydrogen capacity will have been developed by that year, with the shortfall due to be covered by imports. But Wintershall sees domestic blue hydrogen as another means of bridging the gap.

The CO2 produced at BlueHyNow will be captured and shipped to carbon storage sites in Norway and Denmark.