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Equinor and RWE to develop hydrogen-fired power plants in Germany, Norway-to-Germany hydrogen pipeline

Norwegian state-owned energy company Equinor and Germany-based energy company RWE have agreed to work together to develop large-scale value chains for low carbon hydrogen. The partners aim to replace coal-fired power plants with hydrogen-ready gas-fired power plants in Germany, and to build production of low carbon and renewable hydrogen in Norway that will be exported through pipeline to Germany.

The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop large-scale energy value chains, building on the partnership between Norway and Germany and the long-term relationship between Equinor and RWE. The cooperation has these main building blocks:

  • Construction of new gas power plants (CCGTs), contributing to Germany’s phase-out roadmap for coal. Equinor and RWE will jointly own the CCGTs which initially will be fueled with natural gas and then gradually use hydrogen as fuel with the ambition of fully to be run on hydrogen when volumes and technology are available.

  • Building production facilities in Norway to produce low carbon hydrogen from natural gas with CCS. More than 95% of the CO2 will be captured and stored safely and permanently under the seabed offshore Norway.

  • Export of hydrogen by pipeline from Norway to Germany.

  • Joint development of offshore wind farms that will enable production of renewable hydrogen as fuel for power and other industrial customers in the future.

Through this collaboration we will strengthen the long-term energy security for Europe’s leading industrial country while at the same time offer a viable route to a necessary energy transition for hard to abate industries. The collaboration has the potential to develop Norway into a key supplier of hydrogen to Germany and Europe. This is a unique opportunity to build a hydrogen industry in Norway where hydrogen also can be used as feedstock to domestic industries.

—Anders Opedal, Equinor’s CEO and president

In order to make progress in the conversion from fossil fuels to hydrogen, there is an urgent need for a rapid ramp up of the hydrogen economy. Blue hydrogen in large quantities can make a start, with subsequent conversion into green hydrogen supply. This is exactly what we are driving forward with our partnership – providing the industries with relevant quantities of hydrogen. In addition our planned investments into hydrogen-ready gas-fired power plant will ensure security of supply in a decarbonized power sector.

—Dr. Markus Krebber, CEO of RWE


Germany has an ambition to phase out all coal fired power plants by 2030. Several projects for building new hydrogen-ready powerplants in Germany have been identified, replacing existing power production from coal. Until large-scale hydrogen production is developed, the power plants will be fueled by natural gas from Equinor. Replacing coal is the first carbon-reduction step, reducing CO2 emissions materially. Norway is now the largest supplier of natural gas to Europe and Norwegian gas comes with the lowest carbon footprint compared to other gas supply.

The next decarbonization step is to replace natural gas with low carbon hydrogen, produced in Norway and delivered via a hydrogen pipeline to Germany. Over time, large-scale renewable hydrogen production from offshore wind projects in Germany and Norway will complement and replace low carbon hydrogen.

Industrial scale and reliable supply of hydrogen to Germany and the EU depends on the construction of a hydrogen pipeline from Norway to Germany. This is currently under evaluation by Gassco and partners in the context of the German-Norwegian feasibility study. The pipeline would initially transport low carbon hydrogen, produced by capturing more than 95% of the CO2 from natural gas, using existing and proven technologies.

In parallel, Equinor and RWE will collaborate to develop renewable hydrogen production from future large-scale offshore wind projects in Germany and Norway. As renewable hydrogen production increases, this would complement and eventually replace low carbon hydrogen in the pipeline, leading to delivery of fully decarbonised baseload fuel and feedstock, supplying industries and supporting intermittent power generation from renewables.

For the infrastructure and projects under the Memorandum of Understanding to become commercially viable, appropriate regulatory support mechanisms will be required.



I don't think the way forward is to replace giant gas and coal fired plants, which have to be big to be economic, with hydrogen.

Fossil fuel systems burn it centrally, chuck away much of the energy in cooling towers, then despatch it to the point of use, often over considerable distances with line losses.

You simply do not need to do that if you use fuel cells in conjunction with other decentralised resources like solar and heat pumps, with increased insulation standards etc.

There are hundreds of thousands of home fuel cells working for many years in Japan right now.

A criticism of hydrogen is that for the same piping you can only transfer around a third as much energy as if you pump natural gas.

But there is no way that anything like the same energy will be needed in future or we will be stuffed anyway.

Most of the energy goes in heating.

Fuel cells supply a lot of energy as a by product of producing electricity right on the spot where it is needed, instead of centrally then chucking much of it away.

They combine superbly with solar, heat pumps etc, and decently insulated houses and commercial premises are far less wasteful anyway.

The last thing we should be doing is sticking in one for one replacements with inefficient, wasteful, centralised systems.

A converted NG grid can cope perfectly well with the greatly reduced needs of such a system.

And nope, it is not next to impossible to cope with the small hydrogen molecules escaping, as is pretended.

Albert E Short

Like using hydrogen in ICE's, these arguments seem IMHO to be mostly from people trying to keep their sunk-cost assets (engine plants, natural gas power stations) going with a hastily splashed on coat of green-wash.


@ Albert E Short.

I have no idea what argument you are attempting to present.

Do you imagine that we can just wave a wand for electricity?

Not to mention the vast resources needed for batteries.


This is the most idiotic thing I've heard this week. It is much easier/cheaper to transport electricity than hydrogen. Make the hydrogen where it's being used.


@ Albert E Short

You are exactly right. Scratch one layer down and you'll find most of these Hydrogen schemes are from legacy fossil fuel suppliers and users.


This story is a new twist I had not heard before: sequestering the carbon from blue hydrogen in/near a country of origin that is geologically suited for it. As most of the readers know, new gas plants are much more efficient than the old fleet.

While green hydrogen sounds good, I cannot figure a way that it can be competitive with electricity generation with current electrolytic technology, at least without carbon credits. I hope this changes.

One of the commenters stated that there is not a large problem to repurpose the existing natural gas pipeline infrastructure for hydrogen. If they would share resources for this statement, I would appreciate it.

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I have no idea where you get your 'facts' from, as you rarely bother to cite them.

A meme put around by those opposed to hydrogen does not make it a fact.

Here is the DOE in 2018, page 7, fig 4.4:

It is around a tenth as expensive to pipe hydrogen over long distances as to transmit it by cable, which is why the engineers in the North Sea are looking at converting gas pipelines to carry hydrogen and producing the hydrogen in situ on the wind turbine sites.

Sure, the figures can be played around with, by assuming more efficient transmission etc, and ignoring advances in the piping of hydrogen, but the information on which you supposedly base your claims is flat out wrong.

Why do I get the feeling that merely being entirely in error on the data on which they supposedly base their conclusion that 'hydrogen - bad' is not going to shift most of the battery only folks conclusions one iota?

They have their conclusions.
Any old rationale to hand will do.


@paulRobinson ATX said:

' This story is a new twist I had not heard before: sequestering the carbon from blue hydrogen in/near a country of origin that is geologically suited for it'

Norway has had a field in operation for years with sequestration:

The claim by opponent of hydrogen is that sequestration is either impossible, or that the oil and gas companies will fake it, which is accurate in that they have a long and dishonerable record of lying, faking, and putting their bottom line above any human or ecological consideration.

But it seems the high of dumbness to me to seek to close down a technology on the grounds it may be improperly regulated or misused.

Baby food has been contaminated in the past - does that mean we should stop making it?

Sequestration appears to be both practical and safe, if done right,

Here is a PHd geologist, James Do, right here on this forum, updated me in the comments:

So you have to make sure it is done right and deal with the scammers.

That applies to everything else too,

You don't just abandon the technology because it has to be managed properly.


@Paul Robinson ATX said:

' While green hydrogen sounds good, I cannot figure a way that it can be competitive with electricity generation with current electrolytic technology, at least without carbon credits. I hope this changes.'

Here you go:

See for instance page 54:

' In the past, high electrolyser costs have made it important to run electrolysers at high capacity in order to reduce capitalcosts per unit of production, which implied reliance on more expensive electricity from the grid. But as electrolysers capital
costs fall drastically, high utilisation will no longer be crucial. As Exhibit 2.3 shows, once electrolyser costs fall below
$300/kW, electricity cost becomes the almost sole driver of green production costs as long as utilisation rates are abovearound 2000 hours per annum.
Low electrolyser costs will therefore make possible for green hydrogen production to use low-cost electricity from either:
• Very low-cost dedicated renewables, in a context in which LCOE for wind and solar are likely to fall below $20/MWh in more favourable locations; 115
• Relatively low-cost renewables which generate for a higher proportion of time enabling greater electrolyser utilisation (such as offshore wind or combining solar and wind generation), with production costs also subsidised via electricity
sold to the grid when prices are high.116
Green hydrogen production costs could be further subsidized through ‘revenue stacking’ from complementary services,
e.g., sale of oxygen biproduct for oxy-combustion or the sale of balancing services to power networks.117:

It should be noted though that even very favourable assumptions on green hydrogen costs mean that there is still a premium in some industries against using fossil fuels, regardless of GHG.

That is most noticeable in the case of air transport, at least long distance.

However the total extra cost is not large for most things relative to the benefits, if you don't want fried planet.

I somewhat disagree with the conclusions that blue hydrogen will be very uncompetitive, as in my view there is potential although no certainty for very large cost reductions, for instance by using methane pyrolysis.

It should also be noted that this report was from before the massive fuel price rises and the war in Ukraine, and all the exact figures are now outdated.

In Europe at least that has meant that green hydrogen is right now somewhere in the area of being cost competitive with fossil fuels.


@Paul Robinson ATX said:

' One of the commenters stated that there is not a large problem to repurpose the existing natural gas pipeline infrastructure for hydrogen. If they would share resources for this statement, I would appreciate it.'

I did not say that there is no problem, just that it is not the impossibility some claim in an attempt to dismiss hydrogen.

It should be borne in mind that for decades there have been hundreds of killometres of dedicated hydrogen pipelines operating, and that the old town gas ( coal gas ) was of the order of 50% hydrogen, so we have a couple of hundred years experience in piping hydrogen, with its small tricksy molecules.

The only question is how much converting existing pipelines for natural gas will cost.

It is a bit difficult to generalise as there are a host of approaches, and it is a big, very technical subject.

For instance , there is 'pipe within a pipe':

But more generally, most grids are moving towards increasing the percentage of hydrogen in the NG network, prior to conversion to 100% capability.

Separating out the hydrogen at point of use is a whole giant subject in itself.

Here is what the Netherlands are looking at doing in a very brief summary:

The technology is in a rapid state of change, and the options are being developed.

Nothing I have said should be taken as claim that it is easy, but neither is the the impossibility that some wish to claim.

As my link says, we simply will not need to shift around the same amount of energy as national gas grids currently do, with solar, better insulation and fuel cells greatly reducing the needed energy,

So a converted NG network which could transmit of the order of 30% as much energy as it currently does as NG looks like a good fit.

And of course new pipelines could always be built, as we managed to do decades ago for NG.

Albert E Short

@Davemart said:

'I have no idea what argument you are attempting to present.'

I was agreeing with you that hydrogen is best used in a fuel cell rather than boiling water, moving a piston, or burning in a jet.


These people are mostly trying to keep their existing natural gas market. Instead of trying to pipe hydrogen around, It would be better to just use the hydrogen to make ammonia which is far easier to ship.

What Germany should do for electric power is do what is being done in the US and convert existing coal plants to nuclear keeping the existing turbines and generator infrastructure. See However, Germany seems to dead set against nuclear power. But other countries may be more receptive:



Ammonia makes sense where there is no present infrastructure, and shipping is then likely alternative, as in Greenland

For areas like the North sea existing NG pipelines can be converted, which is cheaper,

As I constantly argue here, there is no one size fits all solution.


My comment that this story was a new twist was an acknowledgement of an idea I had not heard before. I was somewhat aware of Norway’s sequestration project. But this has the sequestration coupled with blue hydrogen. That 2 large companies had signed an MOU is interesting and new (to me).

I appreciate the link to the 2021 report. I will download it.

Electrolysis may eventually be cost effective for transportation if an ecosystem can be created. However, using $2/kg fuel (or higher) to generate electricity is just too high for many people/countries.

And I do not think it fair to compare the current gastastrophe in Western Europe to green hydrogen. Many readers on this site are aware of the outrageous scarcity pricing, which is why these countries are scrambling to come up with alternatives that are lower in cost.

If there is anything good about the current situation, it is that it will inspire creative thinking and R&D on a faster track than normal.



@Paul Robinson

The drive as in the US goal recently announced by Joe Biden is to drive costs down to around $1kg by 2030, although that figure somewhat depends on where, as there is a difference between prices at the generation site and where delivered.

In any case, swapping over from fossil fuels burnt means that much of the energy needed will be used directly as electricity, for instance from home solar, with only the difference going through a hydrogen route.

As the companion report to the one I cited makes clear:

where practicable you obviously use electricity directly, with hydrogen helping out in difficult cases such as steel production, and to balance loads, so for instance if you have a lot of solar, in the winter you of course have less, so hydrogen and ammonia etc can help balance.

In addition, better insulation and building standards can greatly decrease total energy draw, as most energy ends up being used for heating, as can home fuel cells, where instead of chucking most of the energy out through cooling chimneys you generate electricity where needed, and use the heat from the process for hot water, for a total electrical plus thermal efficiency of 90% plus as is the case in hundreds of thousands of Japanese homes right now.

If you are using way less energy, then you can afford a higher unit price, although that looks pretty good too,

India has recently done an about turn. and said it will not now as it was going to subsidise and mandate green hydrogen.

The reason? in that low latitude country with abundant solar and substantial wind resources, green hydrogen is already cheaper than hydrogen from fossil fuels.

So no need to mandate and subsidise something which anyone in their right mind is going to do anyway.


The first oil discovery in the US (Pennsylvania) dates back to August 27, 1859. For almost 2 centuries, the oil industry has exploited its situation at the expense of "John Doe"; but the best gimmick does not last forever. With the EV "revolution" introduced from Elon Musk, "the writing on the wall" was interpreted all too correctly from the "oil brass". Almost in panic they envisaged the crumbling of their business model. The best solution for them was hydrogen as a replacement for their oil. It's understandable that they'll resort to all and any means to stay in a most lucrative business. I, personally do not need oil nor hydrogen. It's a wonderful feeling to know that the noose around my neck has vanished but their intent is to keep the situation as long as possible unchanged. Currently, my PV system is producing more power than my family and I need whilst a good portion is fed into the grid. I'm glad to be rid of those cutthroats. 99.8 % of my mileage is covered from my own electric power. I can only recommend to those in similar situations as mine, to follow my example.



I am no fan of the conduct, environmental degradation and people-poisoning of the fossil fuel industry.

That does not mean that it is in any way sensible to attempt to dismiss whole areas of technology because you fancy they might encourage that industry

For starters, you and others of like mind in no way have the power to implement it.

What is your plan for imposing your preferences on China, for instance?

But you sweep wider than that, and attack even green hydrogen, as you fancy an association with fossil fuels.

As I noted above, there are countless cases of baby formula's killing children.

The solution to that is to properly regulate and control the production of baby food, not to try to adopt authoritarian measures to ban it.

Folk like you remind me a bit of president Xi, who decided he did not much like covid, so adopted and enforced ludicrous, authoritarian and wholly counterproductive measures, now reversed at great cost.

Do try to be sensible, and react in ways which are sensible, moderate, and effective, instead of seeking to ban whole areas of technology which IN YOUR HEAD are associated with things you don't much fancy.

Others don't live in your head, and need to deal with the real world, not engage in 'If I ruled the world' fantasies.

Unlike yourself, Xi ruled absolutely a good chunk of the world, but still could not make his fantasy absolute 'solutions' work.

Reality is tough to deal with, but do try to make a start.


I have been a proponent of clean energy (starting with energy efficiency) for over 40 years.

That said, the two companies cited in this article are hewing to the baseload model of electric generation. Within that worldview, I thought the proposal was an advancement, or at least different. It is a pretty tame statement for you to get so worked up about.

According to a chart in the report you cited, Exhibit 1.8 on page 27, green hydrogen is more expensive than blue hydrogen. A chart on the next page shows that even Chile, which, to my knowledge, has the highest direct solar insolation in the world, is not even (quite) cost effective against the most expensive blue hydrogen. And it assumes Chile has actually met this price. Again, the article I am commenting on is about Europe, not South America.

Do I hope it changes? Sure. But it may not occur as quickly as you hope or as this report forecasts.

At this point, this thread feels like an argument you want to have rather than an exchange of views that I prefer. Have a wonderful day.


@Paul Robinson:

It appears that you are commenting on a very different exchange between myself and yoatman rather than anything I have addressed to you,

If you don't know the background to an exchange, which can and does go back months or years, it is usually a poor idea to pronounce on it.

As for the specifics, as I note the exact figures given in the report have little to do with present realities, with the explosion in many parts of the world, although way less so in the US, of fossil fuel prices and the war in Ukraine.

And prices of green hydrogen are dependent on costs for electrolysers, which are right at the beginning of the cost reduction curve for improved technology, and importantly a many fold increase in production driving down costs, just as they have done for lithium batteries.

I have done my level best to provide good links to all the information you have requested, so am somewhat disappointed that you chose to focus on a very different discussion with someone else entirely.


“Construction of new gas power plants (CCGTs), contributing to Germany’s phase-out roadmap for coal.”
If this is the goal, then this does not appear to be just “Greenwashing”.
Yes, Equinor (formerly Statoil) is a large gas and oil company that has replaced Russia as the largest NG supplier to Europe. Most of the H2 will probably be “Blue” with Carbon Capture going to Equinor oil fields.

* Transporting H2 by Pipeline is the best way due to H2 “poor” Volumetric Density.

* The 1.41GW Magnum combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plant located at Eemshaven will be acquired by RWE and the Coal fired plant could be replaced. The Magnum plant uses MHI gas turbines that can be converted to 100% H2. The Combined Cycle plant has a 64% thermal efficiency. A large percentage of RWE generation mix in Germany is Wind Power, so excess power could go to “Green H2”.

*Overall the Norway Energy Plan looks definitely much better than the Japan Plan, which focuses on “Enefarms” and FCV. Please check this Japanese reference source:
“ Re-examining Japan’s Hydrogen Strategy”,


Hi Gryf.

Thanks for your informative and information-rich post as always.

I have to admit though that I am not too impressed with their critique.

It seems to me to not take reasonable account of the head winds for Japan which make a transition more difficult than most other places.

The chief problems are that Fukusima being there, nuclear got an understandably bad rap, and that was the focus of their previous efforts at decarbonisation.

My own view is that most of the damage was caused by an over-reaction to objectively limited real damage, in any provable way, so they killed and distressed people by over-reacting to miniscule provable radiation risk, with the casualties coming from anxiety caused by moving etc, but that is another story,

The main problem is that Japan is a truly lousy place to generate renewables.

It is highly populated, northerly with hot, humid summers, mountainous terrain and the sea plunging to great depths offshore, so only the recently developed floating turbines can really work in quantity.

And the sniffy tone about home fuel cells is in my view completely unwarranted.

They have huundreds of thousands now working, producing not only electriclty on the spot without chucking much of the energy away in cooling towers, but enabling a total electrical plus thermal efficiency of 90% plus.

And they are moaning about low current demand, whilst contriving not to mention that after a few brief years of incentives, the PEM versions are now completely unsubsidised, which is considerably better than BEVs have done.

And since the current Japanese home fuel cells run on NG, the rise in prices of that fuel has hit them, of course.


The main problem is that Japan is a truly lousy place to generate renewables.
Not true. Solar would work and Tokyo will require new homes to have Solar (Tokyo will require new homes built from 2025 to have solar panels, Geothermal would work too, except Japan does not want to disrupt their Onsen hot springs.
One fourth of the Japanese do not even own a car and this is a growing trend. In addition, 40% are Kei cars and they are moving to BEV (2022 Japan Car of the Year was a Nissan Sakura EV) because of Chinese competition. Daihatsu the leading Kei car brand just signed a deal with CATL and will be 100% electric by 2030.
I know more than a little about living in Japan (spent a year there 20 years ago) and I did not need a car: used the train, mass transit, and a bicycle. Toured all over western Japan, Kyoto, and Tokyo.



I am fully on board that renewables, and also in my somewhat contentious view nuclear, are perfectly practical in Japan.

It seems to me undeniable however that it is a lot tougher than most other places, so the comparisons in the assessment you quoted need to be viewed in the light of that.

A relatively high latitude and considerable variability in solar imput with relatively little space per person means that it is way tougher for them than for, say, France or Italy, let alone Florida etc.

For offhore wind their is a paucity of shallow water.

It can all be done, and a falling population means for instance that less energy will be needed,

But it is still tougher for them than others, so simply rating them against other countries on an absolute scale is not fair.

And in my view as costs drop for home fuel cells, they are going to do a lot better than some imagine.

I don't really understand and certainly do not agree with the reports sledging of Enefarm.

Distributed high efficiency energy generation and use is just what we need in my view.

PS I would agree that cars should be kept out of cities so far as possible, and I am more interested in innovative 'last mile' solutions coupled with public transport than private cars whether fuelled by batteries or fuel cells.


If H2 is pipeable, why could not Japan build green electrolyzers at sea level and pipe the gas several thousand feet up a mountain to recombine as H2O in order to drive turbines? Use tidal energy to power the green H2 separators? I'm no engineer but I wish it could work.

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