Green refinery hydrogen for Europe

Part of Today in the Lab – Tomorrow in Energy?

Today in the Lab – Tomorrow in Energy? shines a spotlight on research projects under development in the Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCPs). Learn more about the initiative, read the launch commentary, or explore the TCPs.

Large-scale hydrogen production to reduce refinery CO2 emissions

What is the aim of this project?

Refineries are large industrial consumers of hydrogen, most of which is currently supplied by fossil fuels. The REFHYNE project will install and operate a 10 MW electrolyser at a large refinery in Germany. Once operational, the electrolyser will provide bulk quantities of “green” hydrogen – produced without any greenhouse gas emissions. This hydrogen can be fully integrated into refinery processes, including the desulphurisation of conventional fuels. The project will also report 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.

How could this technology be explained to a high-school student?

Water electrolysers use electrical energy to split water atoms into oxygen and hydrogen molecules. The REFHYNE project will enable large-scale hydrogen production using electric power from renewable sources, thus reducing the refinery’s CO2 emissions.

What is the value of this project for society?

  • decarbonises industrial processes
  • increases energy security by reducing energy imports
  • provides grid balancing services
  • creates new local businesses and jobs.

At what stage of development is this project?

The REFHYNE project, supported by the European Union, was launched in 2018 and will run for five years. In the initial two years the design will be completed and permits will be obtained. The plant will then be built and commissioned. Full operations are expected to begin in 2020.

What government policies could bring this from the lab to the market?

  • providing incentives to use green hydrogen in refineries
  • recognising green hydrogen as a component of renewable fuels
  • exempting electrolysers from grid fees, taxes and levies.

Construction site of the REFHYNE project in Wesseling, Germany. Source: Ina Fassbender

Partners and funders


  • Sintef
  • Shell
  • ITM Power
  • Thinkstep
  • Elementenergy 


  • Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking (under grant agreement number 779579)

Learn more

About the Technology Collaboration Programme on Hydrogen (Hydrogen TCP)

Established in 1977, the Hydrogen TCP works to accelerate hydrogen implementation and widespread utilisation in the areas of production, storage, distribution, power, heating, mobility and industry. Members benefit from the TCP’s global research outreach and robust industry participation.