The search for alternatives to Russian natural gas is in full swing. Even before the march into Ukraine, some stakeholders had been advocating the import of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the USA – as an alternative to Nord Stream 2. However, since the US exports gas obtained by fracking, which does not have a positive image in Germany, the German government is currently also trying to reach out to other source countries, for example in the Middle East, particular Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
So far, however, Germany does not have a port where LNG tankers can unload their cargo. Efforts are therefore currently being made to create the appropriate conditions in Wilhelmshaven, the major port on the North Sea in Niedersachsen. The hydrogen project company Tree Energy Solutions (TES) together with Belgian investor group Atlas Invest are modifying plans for a hydrogen processing facility with power station there to also accommodate liquefied natural gas.
TES has been working to import green hydrogen from countries with plenty of solar and wind power since 2019. Initially, an import station for this and an export station for CO2 were to be built in Wilhemshaven. The planning is now being expanded to include a terminal for bringing liquefied natural gas ashore, an investment volume of nearly 25 billion EUR until 2045.
TES manager Otto Waterlander told the Handelsblatt, “The German government has asked us to integrate an LNG terminal into our planned hydrogen factory to reduce dependence on imports from Russia as quickly as possible.” TES founder and managing director Paul van Poecke said, “We’re now planning further work to greatly ensure the start of phase 1 operation by winter 2025.”