Uniper works on Green Wilhelmshaven to regenerate coal plant with hydrogen-based DRI

Green Wilhelmshaven explores ways to source hydrogen for the iron ore direct reduction plant

Uniper collaborates with Rhenus and Salzgitter on a feasibility study to develop a direct reduction iron ore plant using hydrogen, H2 Bulletin reports.

The partners explore several options for hydrogen supply, where one option is to use the nearby port to import hydrogen or other forms of gas on a large scale. Other options include joining the neighbouring Huntorf compressed air storage power plant and connecting to the gas storage system.

The 757 MW Wilhelmshaven coal-fired power station is set to cease power generation and to be shut down by 8th December 2021. Today, the Federal Network Agency announced the bid for the plant in Wilhelmshaven had been approved. The Wilhelmshaven power plant was commissioned in 1976 and is one of the pioneers of flue gas purification. Germany’s first desulphurisation plant started in this plant in 1978.

The closure comes earlier than Uniper had previously announced as its advanced withdrawal from coal-fired generation. The company wants to move toward clean forms of energy as quickly as possible, where hydrogen and green gases will play a central role in the transition.

The Wilhelmshaven site offers excellent opportunities to remain an important industrial site even after coal-fired electricity generation has ceased. There are several energy options for maintaining added value and jobs in the region.

Uniper presented a plan for closing its coal-fired power plants in Germany in January last year. This plan aims to save up to 18 million tonnes/year CO2. It also set out that Uniper intends to close the coal-fired power plant blocks at the Gelsenkirchen Scholven, Heyden, Staudinger and Wilhelmshaven sites by the end of 2025 at the latest. These power plants have a combined total output of around 2.9 GW. The last coal-fired power plant in Germany owned by Uniper will be the Datteln 4 power plant.

The German Federal Network Agency will be accepting bids for the closure of further coal plants on fixed dates until 2026. In the first auction, which began on 1st September 2020, a capacity of 4 GW was tendered; in the second auction on 4th January 2021, 1.5 GW were tendered. The third auction for around 2.5 GW of capacity is scheduled for 30th April.

David Bryson, COO of Uniper, said, “I am confident that we will need our employees until the end of 2022 as we prepare the plant for closure and the site for regeneration.”

Ethan Mandel

Ethan is the special correspondent for Europe covering the hydrogen industry for H2 Bulletin. Please click on the email icon to contact me via email or follow me on social media. I am reachable on Phone: 02081237815
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