Nuon, Statoil and Gasunie join forces using hydrogen in future CO2-free energy plants


ISPT has previously brought together various parties, one of them being Nuon, to do a feasibility study into the storage of electricity in Ammonia (NH3). Now Nuon, Gasunie and the Norwegian Statoil announce their collaboration in a joint venture that aims to use hydrogen as fuel for the Magnum-power plant in the Eemshaven in Groningen. They will start an innovative project that aims to have one of the three available units fully transferred to hydrogen starting 2023. This is a very important step on the way to a 100% CO2-free energy supply. This also brings the ‘super battery’, that Nuon has been working on a step closer to reality.

Natural gas-power plants play a very important role in the reliability of the Dutch power supply due to their flexible employability. Safeguarding the stability in energy supply will become increasingly important in the future when the portion of solar and wind energy increases. The energy supply from these sustainable resources is strongly influenced by weather conditions after all. Gas-power plants may provide enough stability in the future provided that its CO2 emissions are successfully reduced. To meet the goals set by the Paris climate accord, the emissions in the electricity sector must be 55 to 75% lower than they were in the year 1990 by 2030. If these new power plants – that will easily stay in production beyond the year 2050 – won’t be using gas but have transferred to hydrogen, the energy supply could become CO2-free while also maintaining reliability and stability.

Innovation project

In order to use hydrogen as a fuel in the production of electricity Nuon, Statoil and the Gasunie are researching the possibilities for a first innovation project. In this project one of the three units of the Magnum gas-power plant in the Eemshaven in Groningen would start producing electricity from hydrogen by the year 2023. The Magnum power-plant is very suitable for this project because it has been designed specifically for the application of multiple types of fuel. This was this innovation project can provide important learning experiences in order to reach a CO2-free production of electricity.

Intermediate step to ammonia from the surpluses from sustainable production

Where hydrogen could be produced using natural gas by 2023, from the year 2030 it could be possible to produce it with sustainably produced ammonia. This ammonia could then be produced using electricity from wind and solar- for example when there is a surplus of sustainable energy. Subsequently hydrogen can then be extracted from the ammonia at a later time. Ammonia then effectively serves as a storage medium for hydrogen, making Magnum a super battery.


Hydrogen has been viewed as an important part of a sustainable economy for a long time. It has many promising applications that can reduce CO2 emissions in industry, transportation and the electricity sector. By making these first concrete steps on this scale it will open the door to new applications and chances to make the Dutch economy more sustainable. To achieve this subsidy from the government is an important requirement.

  • The CO2-emissions from electricity production in the Netherlands is about 45 million tons in 2015
  • The potential, direct CO2-emission reduction by replacing natural gas by hydrogen is 4 million tons of CO2 a year – this is equivalent to the emission of about 500.000 households. If this project leads to a reduction of electricity production from coal the saving potential could even be as much as 8 million tons of CO2 per year.
  • The Magnum gas power-plant has 3 so called ‘combined cycle’ gas turbines (CCGT) that each have a capacity of 440 MW. One unit that would be in constant operation would have a CO2 emission of about 1.3 million tons of CO2 per year.