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Clean Refinery Hydrogen for Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - REFHYNE (Clean Refinery Hydrogen for Europe)

Reporting period: 2019-01-01 to 2019-12-31

The REFHYNE project will install and operate a 10MW electrolyser from ITM Power at a large refinery in Rhineland, Germany, which is operated by Shell Deutschland Oils. The electrolyser will provide bulk quantities of hydrogen to the refinery’s hydrogen pipeline system (currently supplied by two steam methane reformers). The electrolyser will be operated in a highly responsive mode, helping to balance the refinery’s internal electricity grid and also selling Primary Control Reserve service to the German Transmission System Operators. The combination of hydrogen sales to the refinery and balancing payments create a business case which justifies this installation. This business case will be evaluated in detail, in a 2 year campaign of techno-economic and environmental analysis. The REFHYNE business model is replicable in markets with a similar regulatory structure to Germany. However, to expand this market to a GW scale, new business models will be needed. These will include valuing green hydrogen as an input to industrial processes (to meet carbon policy targets) and also on sales to H2 mobility markets. The REFHYNE project will gather real world data on these models and will use this to simulate the bulk electrolyser model in a range of market conditions. This will be used to produce reports on the conditions under which the electrolyser business models become viable, in order to provide the evidence base required to justify changes in existing policies. A campaign of targeted dissemination will ensure the results of these studies reach decision makers in large industrial sites, financiers, utilities and policy makers. The REFHYNE PEM electrolyser will be the largest in the world and has been designed as the building block for future electrolysers up to 100MW and beyond. REFHYNE includes a design study into the options for a 100MW electrolyser at the Rhineland refinery, which will help prepare the market for deployments at this scale.
During the first year, the project focussed on the design process of the electrolyser system plant and its adaption to refinery operation. Whilst the core electrolyser unit itself already was designed, considerable design effort has been required to achieve effective integration and up-scaling of the stack with the balance of plant sub-systems. This has been achieved at the design stage as a result of close cooperation between ITM Power and Shell's technical experts to ensure that the REFHYNE package meets all the requirements, standards and compliance required for refinery operation.
During the second period, 2019, the project has focussed on the detailed design of the electrolyser system plant and its adaption to the refinery. It includes technical and operational details as well as safety aspects. The design of the electrolyser package was subjected to two (2) separate hazard/risk analysis processes during the design stage to ensure consistency with SDO’s rules for safe working and integration with the wider HSSE strategy for the site:

• SDO’s own hazard analysis process (ROGA)
• ITM’s hazard and operability study (HAZOP), a structured and systematic examination of the process in order to identify and evaluate problems that may represent risks to personnel or equipment

Both processes were conducted in a collaborative manner by multi-disciplinary teams that included participation by SDO and ITM technical experts and design engineers.
The permit application was approved by the local authorities mid-2019, and construction work at the refinery began in Q3 2019. The electrolyser stacks have been manufactured, and orders have been placed for all other required components and equipment, of which much already is delivered to the site. Commissioning of the system is expected to happen towards the end of 2020.
Thinkstep and SINTEF has prepared for GHG and techno-economic business analysis of the electrolyser system integrated at the refinery. Real world costs and revenues of the project will be assessed on an ongoing basis. For analysis of the various business cases, the optimization model has been established and tested with dummy data. The model will be further developed including advanced functionality related to especially external balancing and market modelling.
The overall objective of the REFHYNE project is to deploy and operate a 10MW electrolyser in a Power to Refinery setting. In doing this, REFHYNE will validate the business model for using large scale electrolytic hydrogen as an input to refineries, prove the revenues available from primary and secondary grid balancing in today’s markets and create an evidence base for the policy/regulatory changes needed to underpin the required development of this market. This will increase the knowledge in using green hydrogen in industrial applications, which is necessary for the shift towards the use of more renewable energy in industry.
REFHYNE Shell refinery site building
REFHYNE building at the refinery