Mitsubishi to enter green hydrogen business in Europe through Dutch subsidiary

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
An offshore windmill is seen off the coast of Nagasaki Prefecture.

Mitsubishi Corp. will enter the green hydrogen business in collaboration with companies such as British resource giant Shell.

In green hydrogen, hydrogen is produced without emitting carbon dioxide through the electrolysis of water using electricity generated by renewable energy sources.

Large-scale offshore wind farms are being constructed in Europe with the aim of producing 400,000 tons of green hydrogen annually in 2030. This will help gradually replace hydrogen being produced using natural gas and other fossil fuels, thus promoting decarbonization.

Eneco, a Mitsubishi subsidiary based in the Netherlands engaged in renewable energy projects in Europe, has decided to take a 10% stake in a joint venture formed by Shell, Norwegian energy giant Equinor ASA, and other companies.

The joint venture will construct by 2030 offshore wind farms generating about 4 gigawatts of electricity, equivalent to four nuclear power plants, in European waters, mainly off the coast of the Netherlands. The project will use the power to produce green hydrogen.

Total investment in the project is expected to exceed ¥300 billion, of which Mitsubishi will shoulder dozens of billions of yen.

Hydrogen is used for many purposes, including as a fuel for factory boilers and home heating systems, as well as for synthesizing ammonia, an ingredient in fertilizers. Currently, most hydrogen is produced using natural gas and other fossil fuels. Hydrogen produced in this manner is called gray hydrogen. If the carbon dioxide emitted during production is captured and stored, it is called blue hydrogen.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there has been an increased interest in hydrogen as a way to reduce dependence on natural gas. If this project comes to fruition, it would reduce by the equivalent of 1% of the amount of natural gas the European Union imported from Russia in 2021.

Mitsubishi plans to invest about ¥1 trillion in renewable energy by fiscal 2030 ending in March 2031. In Japan, the company is moving forward with plans to build offshore wind farms in three areas off the coast of Akita and Chiba prefectures.