How do you get one of bp’s oldest refineries to contribute to net zero? One answer is green hydrogen.
bp and Ørsted are joining forces with the aim of doing exactly that at the Lingen refinery in North West Germany.
Together the two companies intend to build wind-powered technology that can produce hydrogen from water.
When operational in 2024, the industrial-scale 50MW electrolyser – which splits water into hydrogen and oxygen gases – could generate one tonne of renewable hydrogen per hour.
Hydrogen is widely used in refinery processes and is typically produced by reforming natural gas, which results in CO2 emissions. This is also known as ‘grey’ hydrogen.
The energy produced by the green hydrogen project could be sufficient to replace more than 20% of Lingen’s current grey hydrogen consumption.
A 3D model of the proposed Lingen Green Hydrogen
Making the switch to green hydrogen could avoid around 80,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions a year – roughly the same as removing 45,000 cars each year in Germany.
This project can mark a significant step in developing bp’s hydrogen business that could play a key role in getting bp – and the world – to net zero by 2050 or sooner.
Dev Sanyal, bp’s executive vice president of gas & low energy
The Lingen plant is a world leader in green hydrogen, having conducted the first fuels refinery trial of the energy in 2018.
Hydrogen is expected to have a critical role to play in decarbonizing the power, industrial and transport sectors in coming decades, particularly hard-to-electrify or expensive-to-electrify applications.
The 50MW electrolyser will powered by offshore wind energy supplied by Ørsted
Martin Neubert, executive vice president and CEO of offshore wind for Ørsted, said: “Heavy industries, such as refineries, use large quantities of hydrogen in their manufacturing processes. They will continue to need hydrogen, but by replacing the currently fossil-based hydrogen with hydrogen produced from renewable energy, can help these industries to dramatically lower their CO2 footprint.
“But first, renewable hydrogen has to become cost competitive with fossil fuel-based hydrogen and, for that, we need projects such as this with bp’s Lingen refinery, which will demonstrate the electrolyser technology at large scale and showcase real-life application of hydrogen based on offshore wind.”
bp and Ørsted have together applied for funding for the Lingen Green Hydrogen project from the EU Innovation Fund ̶ one of the largest funding programmes for innovative low technologies, which focuses particularly on energy-intensive industries.
The Lingen refinery processes about five million tonnes of crude oil a year (c100,000 barrels a day), producing fuels, heating oil and chemical feedstocks.