The Lingen refinery located in Lower Saxony, Germany has been in operation since 1953. BP Europa, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BP, is the owner and operator of the refinery.

BP took control of the Lingen refinery through the acquisition of Veba Oil from E.ON in 2002.

BP and Ørsted signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to jointly develop an industrial-scale electrolyser project for the production of green hydrogen at the Lingen refinery in November 2020.

The project partners have applied to the EU Innovation Fund for supporting the green hydrogen project at the refinery.

BP’s long-term plan is to set-up an electrolysis capacity of over 500MW at the Lingen refinery, driven by renewable power.

Lingen refinery details

The various processing units in the refinery include atmospheric distillation, vacuum distillation, hydrocracking, coking, desulphurisation, and catalytic reforming units.

All the production facilities were serviced and inspected in a complete overhaul of the refinery in 2006. The central control room replacing six decentralised control rooms of the refinery started operations in February 2015.

The average crude distillation capacity of the refinery was approximately 97,000 barrels of oil a day as of December 2019. The products of the refinery include fuels, heating oil and chemical intermediates.

The Lingen refinery receives feedstock from various sources including the Schoonebeek field in the Netherlands, and the Wilhelmshaven crude pipeline.

Green hydrogen project at the Lingen refinery

The proposed Lingen green hydrogen project involves a 50MW electrolyser and associated infrastructure. The final investment decision (FID) on the project is expected to be reached in early 2022, with the start of operations expected by 2024.

The renewable electricity generated by one of Orsted’s offshore wind farms in the North Sea will power the electrolyser unit.

The electrolysis process involves the splitting of water into hydrogen and oxygen gases, and the hydrogen produced by an electrolyser that runs on renewable energy is considered to be green hydrogen, as the process involves zero carbon emissions.

As per the plans, the 50MW electrolyser project will produce one tonne an hour of green ‎hydrogen or approximately 9,000t of green hydrogen a year which is approximately 20% of ‎the refinery’s current hydrogen consumption. The project will result in reduction of CO2 ‎equivalent emissions by approximately 80,000t a year.

Apart from the production of green hydrogen, the project partners are also focused on the utilisation of oxygen and low-grade excess heat produced in the electrolysis process.

Green hydrogen pilot project

The Lingen refinery became the first refinery in the world to use green hydrogen in the production of fuel in August 2018. The green hydrogen was supplied by Audi Industriegas in Werlte, Emsland, Germany, for the 30-day demonstration project in 2018.

Hydrogen is currently produced in Lingen refinery by the natural gas reforming process which results in carbon-dioxide emissions. The hydrogen produced in this process is termed grey hydrogen.

In the natural gas reforming process, hydrogen is produced by the application of thermal processes such as steam-methane reforming, and partial oxidation on natural gas.