The Danish power firm’s SeaH2Land development will link gigawatt-scale electrolysis to the large industrial demand in the Dutch-Flemish North Sea Port cluster

Green hydrogen climate solution

Carbon Trust said there is a need to diversify hydrogen production routes (Credit: Shutterstock/Alexander Kirch)

Orsted has announced it is set to develop one of the largest green hydrogen plants in the world.

The Danish power firm’s “SeaH2Land” development will link gigawatt (GW)-scale electrolysis to the large industrial demand in the Dutch-Flemish North Sea Port cluster through an envisaged regional cross-border pipeline.

The green electricity required to produce the renewable hydrogen is expected to come from the build-out of additional large-scale offshore wind, as the clean energy source continues to expand its rapidly growing capacity.

Orsted said the major industrial companies in the region – ArcelorMittal, Yara, Dow Benelux, and Zeeland Refinery – support the development of the required regional infrastructure to enable sustainably-produced steel, ammonia, ethylene, and fuels in the future, helping the Netherlands and Belgium to accelerate their carbon reductions towards 2030 and beyond.

“The Dutch-Flemish North Sea Port covers one of the largest hydrogen clusters in Europe,” said Martin Neubert, Orsted’s chief commercial officer and deputy group CEO. “As the world looks to decarbonise, it’s paramount that we act now to secure the long-term competitiveness of European industry in a green economy.

“The SeaH2Land project outlines a clear vision and roadmap for large-scale renewable hydrogen linked to new offshore wind capacity. With the right framework in place, the Netherlands and Belgium can leverage the nearly unlimited power of offshore wind to significantly advance renewable hydrogen as a true European industrial success story.”


Orsted electrolyser could convert 20% of North Sea Port cluster’s hydrogen consumption to green alternatives

The SeaH2Land vision includes a renewable hydrogen production facility of 1GW by 2030 to be developed by Orsted. If realised, the electrolyser can convert about 20% of the current hydrogen consumption in the region to green hydrogen.

With 580,000 tonnes per year, the North Sea Port cluster is one of the largest production and demand centres of fossil hydrogen in Europe today. Driven by decarbonisation efforts, industrial demand in the cluster could grow to about one million tonnes by 2050, equivalent to roughly 10GW of electrolysis.

Orsted is proposing to connect the GW electrolyser directly to a new 2GW offshore wind farm in the Dutch North Sea.

The wind specialist said this will enable the large-scale supply of renewable electricity required for the production of green hydrogen and fits well with the ambitions of the Dutch authorities for an accelerated offshore wind roll-out in line with increasing electricity demand.

It added that the offshore wind farm could be built in one of the zones in the southern part of the Dutch exclusive economic zone that has already been earmarked for offshore wind development.


Orsted’s SeaH2Land vision could contribute significantly to European Green Deal

The industrial players in the region, united in the Smart Delta Resources (SDR) industry partnership, will continue the dialogue with Transmission System Operator’s (TSOs) for them to develop a regional open-access pipeline network of about 45km, stretching across the North Sea Port area from Vlissingen-Oost, Netherlands, to Gent, Belgium.

The GW electrolyser is proposed to link to the envisaged regional pipeline system connecting large-scale consumption and production in the cluster.

Orsted green hydrogen
Orsted is proposing to connect the GW electrolyser directly to a new 2GW offshore wind farm in the Dutch North Sea (Credit: Orsted)

Norwegian chemical company Yara, in partnership with Orsted, and Dutch firm Zeeland Refinery have each announced plans for mid-size green hydrogen production at their sites, while Dow Benelux’s chemical site in Terneuzen, Netherlands, has been exporting hydrogen to Yara since 2018 through the world’s first conversion of a gas pipeline into hydrogen.

The network can be extended further south to Luxembourg-based steel producer ArcelorMittal as a short-term no-regret and further north, underneath the river Scheldt, which flows through France, Belgium and the Netherlands, to Zeeland Refinery.

Orsted said this would provide a “crucial link” to create a unique regional ecosystem of hydrogen exchange with “significant carbon reduction” in the manufacturing processes of ammonia, chemicals, and steel and a significant contribution to the European Green Deal.

It added that the cluster strategy proposes to extend the 380kV high-voltage network for the electrification needs of the industry south of the river Scheldt, which would enable GW-sized electrolysis and offshore wind landing zones on both sides of the river, turning the cluster into a “true energy hub”.


Second phase of SeaH2Land will require the possibility to connect to a “national hydrogen backbone”

Subject to a regulatory framework being in place, Orsted said the regional network will unlock the first phase of SeaH2Land, which comprises 500 megawatts (MW) of electrolyser capacity.

The second phase of SeaH2Land will increase the electrolyser capacity to 1GW, but it will require the possibility to connect to a “national hydrogen backbone”, providing additional flexibility and storage.

The Danish power firm confirmed several locations north and south of the river Scheldt have been identified for GW-scale electrolysis. But, in the meantime, it said a number of projects are being developed in the region on the sites of industrial players that are also set to be connected to the network.

The partnership is now moving forwards and engaging in dialogue with the regulatory authorities on the framework and policies needed to support the development of green hydrogen linked to large-scale offshore wind, the regional infrastructure, and to conduct a full feasibility study of the project.