Plan to import green hydrogen as e-methane gets priority status as Germany races to rid itself of Russian gas | Green Energy Enthusiast

today is Aug 15, 2022

A port project that aims to import millions of tonnes of green hydrogen from the Middle East in the form of e-methane has been given priority status by the German government as part of new emergency legislation passed last week.

The LNG Acceleration law — passed by both chambers of the German parliament last week — has been designed to speed up Germany’s shift away from Russian gas, by cutting the permitting approvals process for much-needed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals to a tenth of the usual time.

Germany imported 46 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas from Russia in 2021, and the pipeline of new LNG terminals given priority status by the new legislation would allow the import of at least 70bcm of LNG.

The new law specifies six potential areas for new LNG terminals to be built, with the project priority status subsequently bestowed by letters of intent between the federal Ministry of Economics and Climate and the relevant German states.

One of those projects, the Wilhelmshaven Green Energy Hub — being developed at the northwest German port of Wilhelmshaven by Belgian company Tree Energy Solutions (TES) — aims to start importing 20bcm of LNG by 2025. From 2028, this would gradually be replaced by synthetic natural gas (SNG) from the Middle East, which would be produced by combining green hydrogen with captured carbon dioxide using the well-established Sabatier methanisation process.

This SNG, or e-methane, would then be converted back into hydrogen using autothermal reforming with carbon capture and storage, with the captured CO2 then being liquefied and shipped back to the original production site for re-use in the next batch of e-methane — in the same vessel used to import the “green” methane, a kind of international “closed loop”.

“This terminal will play a key role in reducing Germany’s energy dependence on Russia, as well as in the shift to obtain fossil-free energy imports, based on green hydrogen,” TES said in a statement.

TES chief commercial officer Otto Waterlander told Recharge in March that the resulting green H2 would be cheaper than any renewable hydrogen produced in Germany — or any other hydrogen shipped into the country using alternative methods.

Climate and economy minister Robert Habeck said during a recent visit to the port town of Wilhelmshaven: “We have a good chance of doing what is actually impossible in Germany — building an LNG terminal within about ten months and connecting it to the German gas supply.”


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