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EU Innovation Fund grants €108 million to RWE’s waste-to-hydrogen project FUREC

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Global Hydrogen Review,

RWE's FUREC project, which aims to produce circular and green hydrogen from non-recyclable municipal solid waste in Limburg, the Netherlands, received a €108 million grant from the EU’s Innovation Fund. Roger Miesen, CEO of RWE Generation, accepted the grant agreement at the Financing Innovative Clean Tech Conference in Brussels.

The funding by the EU Innovation Fund marks a key milestone for advancing the FUREC project, which will require an investment of more than €600 million to complete. With the funding commitment secured, RWE forges ahead with project development at full speed, including seeking the necessary approvals and permits. In parallel, the company is starting to contract preferred suppliers for the plants, potential customers for hydrogen and CO2, and companies that can provide waste of suitable quantity and quality. A final investment decision is to be made in 2024.

Roger Miesen, CEO of RWE Generation SE, said: "FUREC is a prime example of the circular economy at its best, using waste to produce hydrogen. The funding commitment from the EU Innovation Fund proves us right and underlines that RWE can make an important contribution to the decarbonisation of the economy with our project. For the chemical industry, hydrogen offers a great potential to make the production process of raw materials more sustainable. This is where our project comes in. With FUREC, we are facilitating the establishment of a centre for the circular economy in the Limburg region. At the same time, we are enabling the chemical industry to reduce its CO2 emissions. Thanks to FUREC, Limburg can serve as a blueprint for other locations in the Netherlands and in Europe."

As part of the FUREC project, RWE plans to build a pre-treatment plant in Zevenellen, Limburg, to convert non-recyclable municipal solid waste (MSW) into solid recovered fuel pellets. The plant will process about 700 000 tonnes tpy of MSW, of which about 50% will be of biogenic origin (e.g. textiles, paper). This is equivalent to the amount of MSW produced by approximately two million people each year.

The feedstock pellets from the pre-treatment plant will then be converted into hydrogen in a second RWE plant which the company is to build at the Chemelot industrial park in Limburg. The plant is expected to produce 54 000 tpy of hydrogen. For comparison: This is equivalent to the output of a 700 MW offshore wind farm with coupled electrolysers.

By using this hydrogen, the Chemelot industrial park in Limburg will be able to reduce its natural gas consumption by more than 280 million m3 per year. This corresponds to half of the annual domestic gas consumption in Limburg. This will save around 400 000 tpy of CO2 per year. The CO2 released during the hydrogen production is captured and can be stored or possibly used as a raw material by industry in the future. The hydrogen will either be marketed locally in the Chemelot industrial park or transported to industrial companies in Rotterdam and the Ruhr area. FUREC is preparing the necessary grid connections to the hydrogen and CO2 infrastructure.

FUREC receives funding from the EU Innovation Fund, which is 100% financed by the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). The Fund is expected to provide around €38 billion of support for the commercial demonstration of innovative low-carbon technologies over the period 2020 – 2030, with the aim of bringing to market industrial solutions that will help decarbonise Europe and support its transition to climate neutrality.

FUREC is a game changer in CO2 reduction, hydrogen production and waste management: it facilitates unlocking the massive potential of the circular economy to meet the EU’s climate targets. RWE sees FUREC as a blueprint for future roll-outs at other sites in the Netherlands and Europe. The province of Limburg, where Chemelot is located, has followed the development of FUREC with great interest in recent years.

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