Producing hydrogen from household waste

The project

FUREC – which stands for Fuse Reuse Recycle – is one of RWE’s hydrogen projects in Limburg (Netherlands). The idea is that the company uses non-recyclable municipal waste to produce hydrogen (H2). To do that, RWE designs an installation for processing residual waste and turning it into green circular hydrogen. Due to that it will be possible to use the hydrogen at chemical plants on the Chemelot industrial park, thus reducing their consumption of natural gas and also generating less CO2 emissions.

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Why this project?

FUREC aims to produce affordable domestic green circular hydrogen for the industry in order to strengthen their position. Using hydrogen instead of fossil fuels can reduce the dependency of other countries with regards to producing oil and gas. It will also reduce CO2 emissions which fits in perfectly with the ambitions of the EU, the Netherlands, the province of Limburg and Brightlands Chemelot Campus science park. Their shared mission is to stimulate the circular economy in the region. 

RWE’s contribution

RWE Generation has designed the waste-to-hydrogen plant on the Chemelot industrial park. This installation will process municipal waste and turn it into green hydrogen. The video explains the project.

What benefits will the project bring?

Thanks to FUREC, there will be 400,000 tonnes less CO2 emissions per annum. Here’s the thing: by supplying green hydrogen to the plants on Chemelot, the ‘grey’ hydrogen produced from natural gas will be reduced. By doing that, the natural gas consumption on Chemelot will be reduced by more than 280 million cubic metres per year. That is comparable to the gas consumption of 200,000 households.

At the same time, FUREC will contribute to the reuse of municipal waste and thus avoid the unnecessary combustion of molecules.

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This makes FUREC a fully-fledged alternative to waste incineration and an addition to existing recycling initiatives. FUREC itself has no waste flows that will then need to be incinerated. And the municipal waste will come from the region so that there will be no trips to waste incinerators. An additional benefit!

Development and planning

RWE is working on the development of FUREC and has started on the licensing procedures. The company is planning to make a final decision regarding investment in 2024 and is at the same time looking at follow-up projects as FUREC in Limburg is seen as a blueprint for a rollout at other locations in the Netherlands and Europe in the future.

Hydrogen customers

The hydrogen that RWE is going to produce in Limburg can be used by companies on the nearby Chemelot industrial park. There are currently talks taking place with chemical company OCI N.V. that has a production site here regarding this. Using the hydrogen will enable the company to make its production chain more sustainable and contribute to circular production. RWE is also looking at the option of transporting hydrogen to industrial companies in Rotterdam and the Ruhr area and preparing the grid connections to the hydrogen and CO2 infrastructure that this will require.

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