Jupiter 1000 and the hydrogen economy

Marseille Jupiter 1000 power-to-gas project. Credit: Port of Marseille

The EUR30 million Jupiter 1000 power-to-gas project at the port of Marseille is the first industrial scale demonstrator of its type that points the way to a future green hydrogen economy

Financed jointly by the EU, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME), and the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, Jupiter 1000 transforms surplus renewable electricity into hydrogen via electrolysis of water. The project is co-ordinated by GRTgaz, which owns and operates 32,000 km of underground pipelines in France.

“Jupiter 1000 has a power rating of 1 MWe for electrolysis and a methanation process with carbon capture,” Frédéric Dagnet, port of Marseille strategy & audit director, explained. “Green hydrogen will be produced from 100% renewable energy using two electrolysers involving different technologies. The resultant hydrogen will then be fed into the gas network.

“As an alternative, or even in parallel, the hydrogen will react with CO2 captured from a nearby industrial site to produce methane through an innovative methanation technology. The methane can then be injected into the gas network, closing a circular economy loop as CO2 will be used to produce energy.

“Jupiter 1000 mobilises French partners with complementary skills,” Dagnet added, “including McPhy Energy for electrolysis, Leroux and Lotz Technologies for CO2 capture, and Atmostat and the Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission for methane and R&D. The Compagnie Nationale du Rhone provides renewable electricity and will also ensure future remote operation of the facility. Lastly, GRTgaz and Transport et Infrastructures Gaz France will be in charge of the injection into gas networks.

“After evaluating performance levels of the demonstrator project, GRTgaz and the partners will work on future technical and economic standards for deploying full-sized installations of this type,” Dagnet concluded. “In the long term, the idea is to broadly implement the power-to-gas concept throughout France – over 15 TWh of gas could be produced annually by 2050.”

France is not the only European country looking at a future hydrogen economy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany all have serious projects in which ports are playing a major role.

The target to reduce CO2 emissions in Belgium by 80% by 2050, compared to 2005 levels, inspired the ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge – along with industrial partners Engie, Exmar, Fluxys, and WaterstofNet, plus dredging major DEME – to form the country’s first body to conduct a joint study to co-ordinate delivery of concrete projects that shape the production, transport, and storage of hydrogen and take steps towards a Belgian hydrogen economy.

The initial 12-month phase will see the partners make a joint analysis of the entire hydrogen import and transport chain. The aim is to map the financial, technical and regulatory aspects in the logistics chain and produce a roadmap indicating the best way to transport hydrogen for various applications in the energy and chemical sector.

In March this year, DEME also announced its HYPORT Duqm green hydrogen project in Oman. “The facility will significantly contribute to the decarbonisation of Oman’s chemical industry, as well as providing green hydrogen and/or derivatives – such as green methanol or ammonia – to international customers in Europe,” the company states, adding: “The envisaged first phase electrolyser capacity is estimated between 250 and 500 MW, and future upscaling of the installation is foreseen.”

Moving to Germany, Port of Hamburg held a major hydrogen workshop on 29th January this year, senator Michael Westhagemann bringing together 24 Hamburg-based companies. “In terms of building electrolysis plants, we had to identify the level of demand. The workshop determined that 100 MW is not enough even in the medium term – demand in the port alone is much higher,” Westhagemann noted. “We must establish the hydrogen economy here in Germany now and with high priority.”

Finally, in the Netherlands, the port of Rotterdam has pioneered research into green hydrogen and the power-to-gas concept, and with partners is planning to build ‘the largest green hydrogen plant in Europe’ with a decision expected in 2022.

BP Nederland government affairs head Corné Boot explained, “The plant we have in mind must produce 45,000 tonnes of green hydrogen annually. The challenge is that we need a lot of green electricity – 250 MW.”