FCH JU brand new project Refhyne was launched on 18 January 2018 with an event held in Cologne. The consortium will build a new hydrogen electrolysis plant, the largest of its kind in the world, at the Rheinland refinery in Germany. With a capacity of 10 megawatts, the hydrogen will be used primarily for the processing and upgrading of products at the refinery’s Wesseling site. This project will assist in testing the polymer electrolyte membrane technology on a large industrial scale, making it feasible for introduction in other industry plants, as well as potentially being a step towards the future of refining.
The plant will be built by Shell and ITM power and will be able to produce about 1,300 tonnes of hydrogen per year, which can be fully integrated into the refinery processes, such as for the desulphurisation of conventional fuels.
The launch of the new facility was attended by numerous representatives from the politics and business in the Rhineland refinery.
FCH JU Executive Director present at the launch said: “Thanks to the different European research projects by the FCH JU in this area, there is now a window of opportunity for these new generation electrolysers to prove themselves in heavy industries like refineries. We are proud to see the scaling-up of PEM electrolysers to 10 MW to decarbonise the industry sector. “
Tudor Constantinescu, Principal Advisor, DG ENER at the European Commission stressed the the contribution of green hydrogen to the Energy Union objectives, saying: “Renewable electricity can support decarbonisation not only of the power sector, but, through sectoral integration also of other carbon intensive industries, such as refining. Green Hydrogen is a key enabler in this process, contributing to the Energy Union objectives both in terms of emissions reductions and increased renewables share. Therefore we strongly support innovation activities, and the Refhyne project is a great illustration thanks to the world’s largest PEM electrolyser application in a refinery.”
The project’s total investment, including integration into the refinery, is approximately 20 million euros, with 10 million euros of European funding from the FCH JU.
After the official start, the experts will now start with the detailed technical planning. The plant is scheduled to be in operation in 2020, as the first industrial scale test of the polymer electrolyte membrane technology process.