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BASF receives funding approval for 54-megawatt water electrolysis plant

In cooperation with Siemens Energy, work on the water electrolysis at the Ludwigshafen site—the so-called Hy4Chem-EI project—is now entering the next phase of construction. With an output of 54 megawatts (MW) and a capacity of up to 8,000 metric tpy of H2, the PEM electrolyzer will be one of the largest of its kind in Germany once it is operational.

Powered using electricity from renewable energy sources, the system will produce CO2-free H2 and thereby reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the site by up to 72,000 metric tpy. BASF will primarily use this H2 as a raw material in the manufacture of products with a reduced carbon footprint. In addition, the company will supply H2 for mobility in the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region to support the ramp-up of a H2 economy in the area.

BASF and Siemens Energy plan to begin operating the water electrolysis plant in 2025. In cooperation with the State of Rhineland-Palatinate, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection is contributing up to €124.3 MM to the project—up to €37.3 MM of which will be financed by the government of Rhineland-Palatinate.

Dr. Melanie Maas-Brunner, member of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE and Site Director Ludwigshafen said, “In today’s chemical industry, our main need for low-carbon H2 is as a raw material. In the long term, it will also become increasingly important for BASF as an energy vector. That is why I am particularly pleased that our politicians have recognized the project’s potential. In Siemens Energy, we also have a partner with outstanding technological expertise at our side. The current funding commitment shows that politics and business are working together to shape the industrial sector’s energy transformation. This is both a milestone on the road to net zero carbon emissions and a sign of the Ludwigshafen site’s capabilities.”

Dr. Franziska Brantner, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action said, “I am delighted to present the funding notification today for this pioneering project aimed at decarbonizing the chemical industry. As the largest project of its kind to date at a chemical site, it is a leading example of how we can achieve our climate targets. In this way, German companies are demonstrating how the H2 economy can become a reality and that carbon neutrality and future viability go hand in hand.”

Malu Dreyer, Minister-President of Rhineland-Palatinate said, “As the state government, we are promoting the expansion of the H2 economy. €184 MM in regional funding has been earmarked for this purpose. H2 is the energy carrier that will pave the way for our future as a center for business in a climate-neutral Rhineland-Palatinate. We are focusing on expanding both the infrastructure for H2 imports and local production. That is why the Hy4Chem project is a milestone in the ramp-up of the H2 economy in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, and Europe – and in the decarbonization of entire industries. BASF is a global pioneer in the chemical industry’s energy transformation and a role model in the use of innovative climate protection technologies, which are making an important contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. My state government and I will continue to support this process extensively in line with our long-standing close and trusting cooperation. The State of Rhineland-Palatinate’s provision of over €37 MM in funding for Hy4Chem underlines its importance to the entire state.”

Katrin Eder, Rhineland-Palatinate’s State Minister for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, and Mobility said, “H2 technology will lead to a significant reduction in environmentally harmful greenhouse gases. Zero-emissions H2 also has many possible applications. As a raw material, as an energy carrier, and as an energy storage medium, climate-neutral H2 will make important contributions to the decarbonization of our economy and to ensuring a reliable supply of renewable energy. The development and market ramp-up of energy-efficient and cost-efficient H2 technologies are key steps toward establishing a sustainable H2 economy in Rhineland-Palatinate, across Germany, and throughout the EU. BASF’s Hy4Chem project will play an important role. Last but not least, this project will help us to support Rhineland-Palatinate as a center for business and our innovative strength in the long term.”

H2 is the starting point for important chemical value chains. At the Ludwigshafen site, the company uses around 250,000 metric tpy, which are produced by means of steam reforming or occur as coupling products and byproducts. Steam reforming, the current conventional production process, generates high CO2 emissions. Changing the technology for producing H2 and using this H2 as a raw material for chemical products should significantly reduce BASF’s carbon footprint. In order to drive the ramp-up of the H2 economy, BASF is committed to remaining as open as possible toward different technologies for the production of low-emission or emission-free H2. Besides water electrolysis, such options also include methane pyrolysis.