Hydrogen in the global energy system

Shell sees great potential for the use of hydrogen in a range of sectors, from production to industry. Click on each sector to find out more.

Production

Wind turbines at Noordzee Wind Farm, Netherlands

Shell’s ultimate goal is to produce green hydrogen, through electrolysis, using renewable power such as wind and solar. But moving quickly in the energy transition means both green and blue hydrogen can play a role in the decade ahead. Blue hydrogen is produced from natural gas and later decarbonised, using carbon capture and storage.

In order to keep up with increasing hydrogen and renewable power demand, blue hydrogen can provide an interim solution to help build the hydrogen ecosystem while still lowering emissions.

See Shell’s current projects below:

Germany: REFHYNE electrolyser

In Germany, Shell is working on the REFHYNE electrolyser that will produce green hydrogen using renewable energy. With vital funding of the EU's Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, this 10 MW electrolyser, which uses advanced proton exchange membrane (PEM) technology, will be one of the largest hydrogen electrolysers of its kind when completed in 2021. The plant will be built by ITM Power and operated by Shell, producing 1,300 tonnes of hydrogen per year.

Netherlands: NortH2

Shell, together with its consortium partners, Gasunie and Groningen Seaports, is aiming to build the largest European green hydrogen project in the Netherlands by 2040. If given the go-ahead, NortH2 will be capable of producing more than 800,000 tonnes of green hydrogen by electricity generated from a 10 GW offshore wind farm in the North Sea. In December 2020, RWE and Equinor joined the consortium.

Netherlands: Rotterdam Green Hydrogen Hub

Shell is part of a consortium working to build a green hydrogen hub in Rotterdam. In July 2020 Shell and Eneco were awarded a tender for the 760 MW Hollandse Kust Noord offshore wind project in the North Sea. Plans are also underway to build a 200 MW electrolyser in the Port of Rotterdam, which if given the go-ahead, will produce green hydrogen for mobility while the surplus hydrogen can be deployed in our Pernis refinery, in the Port of Rotterdam. A final investment decision on the electrolyser is expected in 2021.

Netherlands: Emmen

A 12 MW solar park is being built as a part of the energy hub GZI Next. Apart from producing solar energy, this energy hub will produce hydrogen as well.

China: Zhangjiakou City

In November 2020 Shell unveiled its first commercial hydrogen project in China. This infrastructure included a 20 MW hydrogen electrolyser which will see green hydrogen produced from abundant wind and solar resources in Hebei province. The joint venture with Zhangjiakou City will be used to support the development of hydrogen and clean energy in the region as well as supply hydrogen refueling stations in Zhangjiakou, which is one of the co-hosts of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

See all projects on the world map here.

Planned Electrolyser Projects

Light duty

Power cars and bus

 

Hydrogen can play a significant role in decarbonising transport. In order to play that role, Shell is providing world leading hydrogen road infrastructure for hydrogen fuel cell cars, in line with customer demand. Today, Shell has opened around 50 hydrogen stations for light duty vehicles and has approved the construction of 50 more.

Hydrogen vehicles store energy as compressed hydrogen fuel. These vehicles can drive up to 700 km on one tank of fuel and take only a few minutes to refill.

Hydrogen vehicles also produce no greenhouse gases from the exhaust pipe – the only emission is water vapour. Indeed, when renewable electricity is used to produce the hydrogen, then the process of driving a hydrogen vehicle is nearly entirely emission-free.

H2 mobility joint venture in Germany

In Germany, Shell is a member of the H2 Mobility joint-venture for developing a nationwide network of hydrogen fuelling stations for passenger cars. The venture already operates more than 80 stations across the country, with plans to reach 100 in mid-2021.

Refuelling stations in California

Shell has opened eight hydrogen refuelling stations in California, with a ninth due to open in early 2021. This number is set to grow beyond 50 after Shell was awarded $40.8 million by the California Energy Commission to install hydrogen refuelling equipment at 48 existing Shell retail stations, upgrade two Shell hydrogen stations and add light-duty fuelling dispensers at one existing Shell hydrogen heavy-duty truck station.

Shell also has hydrogen stations in the UK, the Netherlands and Canada, with plans to open our first stations in China.

See the map below to see all Shell hydrogen stations globally.

Heavy duty

Heavy duty transport

Hydrogen has the potential to be an important, safe, low-carbon transport fuel, particularly for heavy-duty transport such as trucks, buses and shipping.

Heavy duty trucking H2Accelerate

Shell is involved in H2Accelerate, a mobility consortium designed to create the conditions for a large-scale rollout of hydrogen trucking infrastructure across Europe in the next decade. Working together with Daimler AG, IVECO, OMV and Volvo Group, H2Accelerate aims to prove the viability of hydrogen for heavy duty in Europe, first in small clusters then rapidly across the continent by 2030. Synchronized investments across the sector during the 2020s will create the conditions for the mass market roll-out of hydrogen fueled heavy duty transportation which is required to meet the European ambition of net zero emissions by 2050.

California refuelling stations for trucks

In California, Shell is part of a consortium that is developing three new large-capacity refuelling stations for heavy-duty hydrogen fuel-cell trucks, in collaboration with Toyota and Kenworth Truck Company. These stations will form the first hydrogen truck refuelling network in California. In doing so they will help reduce emissions along a heavily polluted road that connects the Port of Los Angeles with a major warehouse complex inland. This is a multi-year project.

Shipping

Shell is working closely with partners on the delivery of the world’s first liquefied hydrogen carrier. The ship, Suiso Frontier, was launched in 2019. It will be a demonstration case for potential large-scale distribution of hydrogen between Australia and Japan.

Buses

A Dutch bus company will fuel their buses with hydrogen from Shell at a newly built hydrogen station. Qbuzz plans to have 20 buses driving on hydrogen fuel by 2021.

See the map below to see all Shell hydrogen stations globally.

Industry

Hydrogen pilot plant

How Shell is using hydrogen to decarbonise industry

Some industrial sectors cannot be easily electrified, for example the iron, steel and cement industry. These are expected to see a need for energy-dense gaseous fuels for decades to come. This is where hydrogen can play a role.

Some industries have started to use hydrogen as a feedstock, or fuel, to power processes. And when the hydrogen is produced cleanly it can lower the carbon emissions of the industrial process.

H-Vision: Blue hydrogen at the Port of Rotterdam

At the Port of Rotterdam, Shell is a key partner in H-vision, a consortium of around 10 companies looking to decarbonise industry by replacing refinery fuel gases and coal with blue hydrogen. This will enable the industry to realise a substantial reduction of CO2 emissions and help achieve the Dutch Climate Accord goals before 2030.

Types of hydrogen

Producing low or zero-emission hydrogen is crucial to ensure its potential as a clean form of energy. Most of the hydrogen available today is produced using energy from hydrocarbons, particularly natural gas. Hydrogen produced in this way is known as “grey” hydrogen.

While this process generates significant carbon emissions, it can be made almost emission-free by using carbon capture and storage to store any carbon emissions that are produced safely back underground. The product is then known as “blue” hydrogen.

Hydrogen can also be made via electrolysis, by splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen using electricity from renewable sources. When produced like this, the process is also almost emission-free, and the hydrogen is known as “green” hydrogen.

The future of hydrogen

hydrogen

The future of Hydrogen

In 2017, Shell published a study on the future of hydrogen in the transport sector, jointly produced with the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy.

The study concludes that in 2050, 113 million fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) could save up to 68 million tonnes of fuel and almost 200 million tonnes of carbon emissions, making a significant contribution to reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector.

GET TO KNOW SHELL’S HYDROGEN LEADERS

Get to know Paul Bogers

Paul Bogers is the VP for Hydrogen at Shell.

Get to know Oliver Bishop

Oliver Bishop is the General Manager for Hydrogen at Shell.

  

  

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