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Shell Will Build Europe's Largest Green Hydrogen Plant in the Netherlands

Oil companies have changed how they present themselves. Instead of proudly saying they sell gasoline, diesel, and other petroleum products, they now say they sell energy. Shell is a good example of that movement, and it wants to show this is not just marketing: the Dutch oil company will build the largest green hydrogen plant in Europe.
Shell Holland Hydrogen I plant 9 photos
Shell Holland Hydrogen I plantShell Holland Hydrogen I plantHydrogen refuellingHydrogen refuelling stationHydrogen refuelling stationHydrogen refuellingNoordzeeWind wind farm, NetherlandsShell Holland Hydrogen I plant
Predictably, the Shell Holland Hydrogen I plant will be constructed in the Netherland. To be more precise, it will be in the port of Rotterdam, and the green energy that will power the 200-MW electrolyzer will come from the offshore wind farm Hollandse Kust (noord), which Shell partially owns.

This massive electrolyzer will produce 60 metric tons of hydrogen per day – the tweet below talks about 600 metric tons, but the attached press release confirms the 60,000 kilograms (132,277 kg). Ironically, this hydrogen will not be used by FCEV trucks, buses, or passenger cars. Most of the gas will help power the Shell Energy and Chemicals Park Rotterdam, a refinery that produces gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.

Shell almost defends itself in its explanation of why this hydrogen will have such use. The company rightfully says that there is no demand for hydrogen in transportation at this point. When fuel cell commercial and passenger vehicles turn into relevant customers, Shell noted that part of the production could feed them to help decarbonize transportation.

Besides the new factory, Shell could do more and announce that some of its fuel stations would also have hydrogen pumps in strategic places, such as highways and in major Dutch cities. That would break the Gordian knot in which hydrogen and FCEVs currently are: automakers do not sell hydrogen cars because there is nowhere to top up their tanks, and “energy companies” do not invest in hydrogen stations because there aren’t enough fuel cell vehicles to justify the investment. Someone will have to take the first step.

A nice way to deal with that would be to have PHEVs powered by fuel cells. Instead of burning hydrogen or gasoline, they would use the hydrogen in their tanks to recharge the battery packs in the most efficient way. NamX and Toyota are following that strategy with swappable hydrogen capsules. Shell could help them with the largest green hydrogen factory in Europe and any others it may decide to build in the future.




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