ECN partners with voestalpine, Siemens and VERBUND to build one of world largest pilot facility for green hydrogen

Tuesday February 7, 2017 16:58

ECN, with partners voestalpine, Siemens, VERBUND, Austrian Power Grid (APG) and K1-MET have received Horizon2020 funding to construct and test one of the world’s largest electrolysis plants for producing green hydrogen. The plant will be built and operated on the premises of voestalpine in Linz, Austria and the hydrogen produced will be used directly as a raw material in steel production and steel processing.

One of the largest and most modern electrolysers with proton exchange membrane technology will produce hydrogen for industrial use and for balancing services on the power reserve market. The total project volume amounts to about 18 million EUR over the course of 4.5 years. 

The technology supplier for the proton exchange membrane electrolyser is Siemens. VERBUND will provide electricity from renewable energy sources and is responsible for development of grid-relevant services. ECN is responsible for the scientific analysis of the demonstration operation and the transferability to other industrial sectors. Austrian transmission system operator APG will provide support in integrating the plant into the power reserve markets. The competence centre K1-MET will support plant operations and investigate possible applications beyond the steel sector.

Rob Kreiter, Programme Manager System Integration at ECN says ECN sees hydrogen from electrolysis as a key enabler for the decarbonisation of industry and transport, and the extensive integration of renewable energy in the energy system: “The Netherlands have a large energy intensive industry and also high ambitions for large-scale offshore wind power. Therefore, introduction of cost-competitive electrolysers in steel, refinery and fertilizer industry are at the core of ECN’s R&D activities. Hence our involvement in the H2Future project.”

Both industry at large and energy providers are currently confronted with serious energy policy challenges in Europe: the EU’s climate and energy goals stipulate a 40 percent reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030, which poses major challenges for energy-intensive industries. The European electricity sector is experiencing a radical change, with overcapacities of volatile new renewable solar and wind energy. Green hydrogen produced based on CO2-free green electricity presents enormous potential for use as an industrial process gas, as well as for energy storage. The H2FUTURE project is an important milestone on the path towards coupling the energy and industry sectors.


Within H2FUTURE, key questions about sector coupling will be handled, such as evaluating potentials and possibilities for using green hydrogen in various process stages of steel production. In addition, the transferability of this technology to other industrial sectors which use hydrogen in their production processes will be investigated. A further focus is integrating the electrolysis plant into the power reserve markets by developing demand-side management solutions, thus compensating for short-term fluctuations in the increasingly volatile power supply by means of load management for bulk consumers. 

Watch the H2Future video on the H2Future project website.

More information and contact
For more information about the role of ECN in this project, please contact Marcel Weeda via our contact form.

Category: Corporate, Policy Studies, Energy efficiency