In Laage near Rostock Apex Energy built Europe’s largest hydrogen power plant. The plant intends to supply the commercial area with CO2-free hydrogen energy.
On Friday, June 12th, 2020, Europe’s largest hydrogen-based supply network was inaugurated in Laage near Rostock. The energy service company Apex Energy built a hydrogen power plant there, which can supply an entire commercial area with hydrogen energy and thus CO2-free. The Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Economics, Marco Wanderwitz (CDU), praised on-site private investments such as that of Apex Energy as “a central factor for the successful implementation of the national hydrogen strategy”. The block heat and power plant built by Apex Energy with two megawatts convert hydrogen into heat and electricity using a fuel cell. The hydrogen itself is extracted from water using a so-called electrolyzer. For this, Apex initially wants to use green electricity from the regional electricity provider. Excess hydrogen can also be temporarily stored, according to the company. The individual components of the system have so far not been brought together in this way.
“Nationwide flagship project for CO2-neutral commercial solutions”
“Hydrogen is another key element in achieving the climate goals,” said Wanderwitz. The Apex Energy power plant shows that the technology is mature. It serves as a “nationwide flagship project for CO2-neutral commercial solutions”. According to Apex Energy, the planning for the plant started in 2017. According to the company, the investment costs were twelve million euros. In addition, a public hydrogen filling station on the factory premises supplies up to 40 local buses and 200 cars. Mathias Hehmann, Managing Director of Apex Energy, classifies the plant as “an important milestone for emission-free, future-oriented energy supply”. “Hydrogen is the driver of a carbon-neutral future,” he said.
Germany “number one in the world in hydrogen technologies”
The federal government had only presented its national hydrogen strategy on Wednesday – Germany is to become “number one in the world” for hydrogen technologies. The government is funding this with seven billion euros in Germany and two billion euros for international partnerships.
Hydrogen (chemical symbol: H) occurs in many different ways in nature – such as in water (H2O) – but in practice, it is almost only in a bound form. For use as an energy source, hydrogen must, therefore, be obtained in pure form using other energy sources. If this use of energy is emission-free, green hydrogen is used.
Up to 300 tons of hydrogen every year
So far, the company has invested around twelve million euros in the system, according to an Apex spokesman. Every year, up to 300 tons of hydrogen is to be produced in Laage – directly from water using a so-called electrolyzer. To start this high-energy process, the company wants to use green electricity from a regional provider. The hydrogen plant will later have, among other things, an electrolysis capacity of 2 megawatts, its own hydrogen storage system, and a combined heat and power plant. The company also celebrates its 20th anniversary on Friday.
Official approvals are still pending
However, Apex Energy still has to overcome a few hurdles before production actually starts. Among other things, it deals with the latest official approvals for the manufacturing process and the completion of construction work at a hydrogen filling station, which, it was said, would have been delayed due to the corona. According to the company, a supplier for the automotive industry will also be located at the location, which will also be supplied with hydrogen.