The Hydrogen Stream: 45 GW project in Kazakhstan, new push from Norway

German project developer Svevind Energy and Kazakh Invest wants to build a 45 GW green hydrogen complex in Kazakhstan. Norwegian companies Equinor, Aker Group and Saga Pure announced separate plans to further develop their green hydrogen solution.

June 29, 2021

German project developer Svevind Energy and Kazakh Invest, a state-owned company promoting foreign investment in Kazakhstan, have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a giant green hydrogen production plant in Kazakhstan. “Svevind plans to install wind and solar farms with a total capacity of 45 GW in mainly steppe areas in western and central Kazakhstan,” the two companies said in a joint statement. “The green electricity will feed 30 GW of electrolyzers to produce about three million tons of green hydrogen every year.” The green hydrogen can either be exported directly to the ever-growing Eurasian markets or used locally to produce high-value green products, like ammonia, steel or aluminum. The engineering, procurement and financing phases are expected to take at least three years. The construction and commissioning phases are predicted to take five years. “The green hydrogen facilities will lift Kazakhstan among the global leaders of renewable energy and hydrogen at very competitive, ultra-low production costs. We trust that, for green hydrogen, Kazakhstan is the place to be,” commented Svevind’s majority owner and CEO Wolfgang Kropp.

Norwegian state-owned oil and gas company Equinor said on Tuesday it tripled its U.K. low carbon hydrogen production ambitions to 1.8 GW. “Without CCS and hydrogen, at scale, there is no viable path to net zero and realizing the Paris goals … The projects will also contribute to provide hydrogen and low carbon solutions to 3-5 industrial clusters by 2035. We will do so by working together with governments, partners and customers,” said Equinor’s president and chief executive officer, Anders Opedal, after a Monday meeting with U.K. energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng and Norway’s energy minister, Tina Bru. The increased hydrogen goal is principally related to low carbon hydrogen supplies to the Keadby Hydrogen power station which Equinor is co-developing with the SSE Thermal unit of Australian-owned British utility SSE. According to Equinor, the power station could come online before 2030, potentially becoming the world’s first large scale 100% hydrogen-fueled power station. The U.K. has a target to reach 5 GW of clean hydrogen capacity by 2030.

Aker Clean Hydrogen, a hydrogen-focused arm of Norway’s Aker group, has invested in Meraker Hydrogen, resulting in 20% ownership of the company. “The aim of the investment is to accelerate the development of green hydrogen production in mid-Norway and decarbonize local transportation and industry,” read a note released last week. The company intends to build a plant in Meråker municipality, to produce up to 10 tons of green hydrogen per day – equivalent to 23 MW of installed electrolyzer capacity – using local renewable energy sources. Production start is expected early in 2024. “Meraker Hydrogen is well positioned to create green value chains and decarbonize local shipping and transportation sectors in addition to other potential industry [uses],” Knut Nyborg, chief executive officer of Aker Clean Hydrogen, commented.

Saga Pure, the first listed green investment company on the Oslo Stock Exchange, has announced the acquisition of Hyon, a maritime hydrogen solutions provider. Following a subsequent transaction, Saga Pure, Nel ASA and Norwegian Hydrogen will each have 29% ownership of Hyon, with key employees holding the remaining shares. Hyon will focus on developing hydrogen and ‘bunkering solutions’ for harbors. “Sustainability is at the top of the agenda within the maritime sector and hydrogen will play an important role in the future maritime fuel mix. An entirely new value chain needs to be developed and a key part of that is transferring hydrogen from the harbors to the vessels. Hyon is currently developing solutions for [the] production and fueling of hydrogen ships and we look forward to be[ing] an active part of the further development of these solutions,” Bjørn Simonsen, CEO of Saga Pure, commented in a note released on Tuesday.

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Ways2H, a joint venture between U.S.-based Clean Energy Enterprises and Japan Blue Energy, will deliver facilities that convert garbage into hydrogen to U.K.-based Element 2. The facilities will supply Element 2’s network of hydrogen refueling stations as part of a cooperation on the production and distribution of renewable hydrogen fuel for transport in the U.K., Ireland and continental Europe. The two companies envision as many as 40 sites that could each provide from 500kg to a ton per day of renewable hydrogen fuel. The first project should take place in Scotland. “Our hydrogen supply agreement with Ways2H is an important step in Element 2’s plan to deliver 2,000 hydrogen refueling stations across the U.K., Ireland and Europe by 2030,” Element 2 CEO Tim Harper commented, in a note released last week. Ways2H recycles municipal solid waste and sewage sludge, converting them into a gas from which pure hydrogen is then extracted. The company recently completed its waste-to-hydrogen facility in Tokyo.

Canada is stepping up its efforts to promote hydrogen-powered electric vehicles. After Alberta, British Columbia is now bracing to invest in hydrogen-powered heavy-duty transportation. The province’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) offered service provider Hydra Energy a $1.9 million (US$1.54 million) credit to build a hydrogen fueling station in the northeastern part of the province by early 2023. According to the plans, 65 diesel trucks will be retrofitted to use 40% hydrogen fuel which will be captured at a local sodium-chlorate facility. “By working with hydrogen suppliers and the trucking industry, we’re hauling B.C. toward a low-carbon future. Hydrogen fuels allow us to reduce emissions in our transportation sector,” Bruce Ralston, minister of energy, mines and low carbon innovation, commented in a note released on Monday. British Columbia is set to present its hydrogen strategy, which aims to make the province the “world leader in the production, use and export of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen.”

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