German energy company RWE has today received approvals to build and operate the first two 100MW electrolysers for its proposed green hydrogen facility at the site of its gas-fired power plant in Lingen.

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The project, called “GET H2 Nukleus”, will form the lynchpin of the GET H2 network of hydrogen production and pipelines throughout Germany, to be developed by a consortium of more than 50 companies including BP, Uniper, and Thyssenkrupp.

RWE submitted a 2,250-page application for the facility to the Oldenburg Trade Inspectorate in February this year.

“The approval for our plant is the result of constructive and intensive work, not least on the part of the authorities involved, who never had to examine a hydrogen project of this size before,” said RWE’s hydrogen COO Sopna Sury.

“Seven months from submitting the complete application to approval is a reference value that gives rise to optimism for the ramp-up of the hydrogen economy in Germany.”

However, RWE confirmed to Hydrogen Insight that while GET H2 Nukleus was included in the German government’s 2021 nomination of projects to receive Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) status from the European Commission, effectively unlocking major state aid, no funding commitment has been made.

“A state aid investigation by the EU within the framework of the IPCEI program is still ongoing,” a spokesperson for the company said.

However, other 2021 nominees, such as Sunfire, have already received grants from the German government after being approved for IPCEI status, albeit after a years-long wait.

The German energy company plans to ultimately install 300MW of electrolysis capacity powered by offshore wind electricity for GET H2 Nukleus by 2027, although its operating partner on the project Linde Engineering has only ordered 200MW of proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysers from ITM to date.

This would indicate that RWE has delayed its original start-up date of 2026 due to a lack of decision on funding.

In January, when the order for the electrolysers was placed, the energy company noted that its planned commissioning dates of 2024 and 2025 “would be impossible to meet if there were further delay” in grant approvals.

RWE is in the midst of commissioning a pilot 14MW of electrolysers —10MW of pressurised alkaline from Germany’s Sunfire and 4MW of PEM supplied by Linde — at Lingen by the end of this year.

Both technologies are being considered for future projects, although it is unclear whether this means the last 100MW of GET H2 Nukleus is in a race between PEM and pressurised alkaline or if a third option will be chosen.

Updated to include comment from RWE on IPCEI status.