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Europe's largest PEM electrolyser nearing completion

The REFHYNE project is about to complete the construction of Europe's largest PEM electrolyser. The starting signal to produce green hydrogen on an industrial scale will be given on July 2 2021.

Photo of the building site at Wesseling, Germany. © Shell Deutschland Oil

The new electrolyser will have a peak capacity of 10 megawatts and will be able to produce up to 1,300 tonnes of hydrogen per year. This corresponds to the amount of hydrogen required to drive about 16 million kilometers with a hydrogen-powered bus, a distance equivalent to forty times around the Earth.

With the installation of impressively large roofs, the construction of the REFHYNE facility has passed another important milestone. The electrolyser modules had previously been manufactured and installed by ITM Power as the core.

Mounting of Venturi roof on the hydrogen production building at the Shell refinery in Wesseling, Germany. © Shell Deutschland Oil

Three special cranes were needed to lift the two so-called Venturi roofs onto the system. The two modules cover a roof area of ​​25 by 18.5 meters and weigh 46 tons. The roof structure, which is aligned with the prevailing main wind direction, ensures that the production area is ventilated in an environmentally friendly and resource-saving manner. There is no need for mechanical ventilation.

In the past few months, following a successful trial run, the five electrolyser modules were brought from the UK to Wesseling in Germany and installed. In the electrolysers, water is separated into its components, hydrogen, and oxygen, with the help of electricity. The resulting oxygen is released into the environment.

The hydrogen is fed into the refinery network and used in the plant for the desulphurisation of products. Because the electricity used in the electrolysis comes from renewable energy, “green hydrogen” is created, one of the most important energy carriers for shaping the energy transition.

The European Union is supporting the pilot plant through the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU). In addition to Shell and ITM Power, the project partners are SINTEF, Element Energy and Sphera.

Visit the REFHYNE website to see more pictures from the construction phase.

Published 30 April 2021
Senior Project Manager
+47 943 56 595

Porject duration:

01/01/2018 - 31/12/2022