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Clean Hydrogen Coastline as the Cornerstone for a European Hydrogen Economy

By March 24, 2021 6   min read  (1055 words)

March 24, 2021 |

Clean Hydrogen Coastline as the Cornerstone for a European Hydrogen Economy

The industrial partners ArcelorMittal Bremen, EWE, FAUN, Gasunie, swb and Tennet in northwest Germany are striving for a market-relevant integration and scaling of hydrogen technology into the German and European energy system with their “Clean Hydrogen Coastline” project.

Clean Hydrogen Coastline is a network of partners across the entire value chain of the hydrogen industry. By 2026, the companies want to integrate up to 400 megawatts of electrolysis capacity with corresponding storage of hydrogen into the energy system in a targeted manner.

“In Northern Germany, we have the best prerequisites for integrating hydrogen as an integral part of the energy system and laying the foundation for a European hydrogen economy. With the National Hydrogen Strategy, the federal government has made the importance of this energy source and raw material clear. In order to be able to use hydrogen on a large scale at marketable prices, major industrial projects must now follow, ”says EWE CEO Stefan Dohler.

Industry and transport as a sales market for hydrogen
The basis of a sustainable hydrogen economy is a secure sales market for green hydrogen, for example in industrial applications. The steel location Bremen offers great potential here. “For us, the Clean Hydrogen Coastline project is an important starting point for the climate-neutral production of steel,” says Reiner Blascheck, CEO of ArcelorMittal Bremen. “We started the transformation process by preparing the technology change in order to use green hydrogen in production. To do this, we need a functioning supply of hydrogen at economic costs so that we can keep Bremen as a steel location competitive over the long term, ”adds Blaschek.2 emissions.

The transport sector also has a decisive share in the sales market for hydrogen and thus in the rapid market ramp-up of the technology. “It is important that we get vehicles with fuel cell drives on the road as soon as possible,” says Patrick Hermanspann, CEO of the FAUN Group. “We already have extensive experience in equipping refuse collection vehicles with fuel cell systems. A transfer to other commercial vehicles in goods and goods transport is therefore our declared goal – for climate-neutral truck traffic. The task here is to create sufficient production capacities. ”

As part of the Clean Hydrogen Coastline project, Faun therefore wants to expand production in order to be able to bring up to 12,000 vehicles into operation by 2026. FAUN and EWE plan to support these efforts with a decentralized filling station network. This enables users to act flexibly and ensures that the vehicles are supplied as required. “The combination of vehicles and decentralized H 2 supply offers customers an all-round carefree package and that must be the goal,” adds Patrick Hermanspann.

Integration of hydrogen in existing energy infrastructures
In order to be able to integrate hydrogen as an energy carrier in the energy system, it is necessary to use the existing electricity and gas infrastructure intelligently. “In north-west Germany, due to the high generation capacities of renewable energies, it is possible to integrate electrolysis systems on a large scale in a system-friendly manner. If possible, green hydrogen should be produced where the necessary electricity is generated from renewable energies. This avoids unnecessarily large electricity flows and helps to limit the additional expansion of the electricity network, ”says Tim Meyerjürgens, managing director of the transmission network operator Tennet. “Suitable locations can already be identified in north-west Germany today. With the connection of additional renewable energies, especially in the offshore area, the potential for further hydrogen plants continues to rise, ”adds Meyerjürgens. In combination with the gas infrastructure, a meaningful integration of hydrogen as an energy carrier could succeed.

“The first stage of our HyPerLink project is in the northwest. By the year 2025, we want to create a connection between important production and storage locations with relevant sales markets via our gas pipelines, namely in Lower Saxony, Bremen and Hamburg, ”says Jens Schumann, CEO of the transmission system operator Gasunie Deutschland Transport Services. “The HyPerLink project is closely linked to the Clean Hydrogen Coastline project and, as an important part of the European backbone, will create a connection between the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark.”

Production and storage of hydrogen
With the sales markets and the planned integration into the energy infrastructures, all the necessary prerequisites are created for the production of green hydrogen close to the market. “Under these conditions, we can create production capacities of up to 400 megawatts by 2026,” says Stefan Dohler. The potential is significantly higher. The Clean Hydrogen Coastline project alone results in a theoretical sales potential of more than 2.2 gigawatts of electrolysis capacity at the Bremen steel site and for supplying the 12,000 vehicles. For the first expansion stages in the 200 megawatt range, the Bremen site for generation and use and Huntorf in the Wesermarsch, 20 kilometers away, are being considered.2 -free industry. This will make Bremen a first mover in the European hydrogen economy, ”says Dr. Torsten Köhne, chairman of the swb board. The company swb is planning an electrolysis plant together with EWE at the Bremen location.

EWE operates natural gas storage facilities in Huntorf. As part of the project, a cavern storage facility is to be converted to hydrogen. This should provide sufficient flexibility for a grid-friendly operation of the electrolysis with simultaneous security of supply on the user side. The special feature of the Huntorf storage site is its location between Oldenburg and Bremen. The Huntorf location can be connected to Oldenburg and Bremen and to the long-distance pipeline network at short notice thanks to EWE Netz GmbH’s existing gas lines. This makes it possible to offer supraregional storage capacities as early as 2025, for example for Hamburg.

Clean Hydrogen Coastline project
The project partners agree that the appropriate regulatory framework must be in place for the project to be implemented successfully. In addition, they also consider subsidies to be necessary in this early phase of the market ramp-up for hydrogen technologies. At the end of February, the partners therefore took part in the BMWi’s expression of interest in an IPCEI (Important Project of Common European Interest). Through existing cooperation between German and Dutch partners, the project can become an important component of a European hydrogen economy in the sense of an IPCEI. Given the right boundary conditions, the project can start in the second quarter of next year and trigger a total investment of 1.3 billion euros for hydrogen technology.

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