Shell opens Europe’s largest PEM electrolyser


Germany – Shell has started up Europe’s largest hydrogen electrolyser of its kind at it’s energy and chemicals park Rheinland, in Germany. As part of the Refhyne consortium and with funding from the European Commission, the 10 megawatt PEM electrolyser uses renewable energy to initially produce up to 1,300 tonnes of green hydrogen a year.

The green hydrogen will initially be used to produce fuels with lower carbon-intensity at the refinery. Shell is also working to enable the green hydrogen to help decarbonise other sectors such as road transport.

The Refhyne electrolyser is a 10 megawatt proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyser and the largest of its kind in Europe. The electrolyser was built by ITM Power and will be operated by Shell, producing 1,300 tonnes of green hydrogen per year from renewable energy. Plans are already in place to expand the capacity of the electrolyser to 100 MW.

More refineries

In it’s Powering Progress Strategy, Shell set a target to become a net-zero-emissions energy business by 2050, in step with society. As part of this plan Shell will transform five core refineries into integrated Energy and Chemicals Parks by 2030.

Transforming these refineries will mean using more recycled and renewables feedstocks, such as hydrogen and waste oils and processing less crude oil. As a result, by 2030 Shell will reduce production of traditional fuels by 55% and will produce more low-carbon fuels, chemicals and energy products.

Wind Farm

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.