The trend is clear: refineries also need to become greener – recently also to limit the use of Russian oil and gas. In Germany, refineries are responsible for about a fifth of the CO2 emissions by the sector. Green hydrogen can be integrated into existing production processes. Several refineries are currently making this transition.
For the production of the 14 TWh of green hydrogen capacity the German federal government expects by 2030, no more water is needed than what a city with around 200,000 inhabitants consumes. This was the calculation of the DVGW (Deutscher Verein des Gas- und Wasserfaches), the German association for gas and water standards, in the study “Klimaschutz und Resilienz” (climate protection and climate resilience) from April 2021. According to it, the use of electrolyzers with comparatively low input of water is feasible. Electrolyzers also perform favorably in comparison to coal-fired power plants. For example, the water demand of the energy industry today, which is primarily coal-fired, is more than 50 percent of the total water withdrawal of Germany for the year 2020, according to data from the federal environmental agency UBA (Umweltbundesamt).