Uniper and Siemens sign hydrogen development pact

Uniper and Siemens Gas and Power have today signed a sector coupling agreement which puts hydrogen at the heart of efforts to decarbonize power generation.

“The use of climate-friendly gas will be a major step towards successful energy system transformation,” said Uniper chief executive Andreas Schierenbeck, adding that “decarbonization of the gas industry, including gas-fired power generation, is essential if Germany and Europe are to achieve their climate targets”.

In a joint statement, the Germany-headquartered companies said: “It is important to look at the energy, mobility and industry sectors together, because they all can – and must – contribute to reducing greenhouse gases.”

The drive to embrace so-called ‘green hydrogen’ – hydrogen from renewable sources – is intended to be examined across “the entire value chain”, with a key focus on the potential of utilizing hydrogen for Uniper’s existing gas turbines and gas storage facilities.

The collaboration will define what role hydrogen can play in the future evolution of Uniper’s European coal plants, which are due to all be closed or converted by 2025 at the latest.

Uniper’s coal-exit plan is instrumental to make the company achieve its objective of becoming carbon neutral in Europe by 2035. 

Siemens Gas and Power already has a ‘brownfield transformation’ programme’ which is designed to decarbonize coal-fired power plants and significantly reduce CO2 emissions from gas-fired plants.

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Siemens said that building infrastructures for Power-to-X “is making a global contribution to cross-sector decarbonisation”.

Uniper built the first power-to-gas plant in Falkenhagen, Germany, in 2013, followed by another one in Hamburg two years later.

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Uniper boss Schierenbeck said the company was “ready to invest and have set the strategic course to significantly accelerate the decarbonization of our portfolio. In doing so, it is important to bundle energies, act openly in terms of technology, and work with proven high-technology partners like Siemens.”

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Jochen Eickholt of Siemens Energy said green hydrogen “can contribute to achieving climate targets and is thus a key to a successful energy turnaround. And it can do so across sectors in industry, mobility, and heat and power generation.”

However, he added that “we’re only at the beginning. Joint projects with our customers, such as the partnership with Uniper focusing on ʻbrownfield transformationʼ and the design of the ʻgreen hydrogenʼ value chain, are extremely important. Here we can show that a CO2-free, environmentally friendly energy supply is possible and makes sense under real conditions and using existing plants.

“Together, we are working to master the challenges up to series production and use of hydrogen on a large scale and to make this clear to the world: Our future lies in hydrogen – this is what we are committed to as a company.”

Hydrogen Europe will be playing a major role in this year’s Enlit Europe in Milan in October.