According to an expert in fuel cells and electrolysis, Gregor Hoogers, the federal states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland are expected to become national leaders in the production of hydrogen. Both states have natural gas pipelines that could potentially be used to transport hydrogen in the future. Hoogers noted that there are several things that can be done to advance the hydrogen economy.
Rhineland-Palatinate has an excellent infrastructure for the transportation of hydrogen along the Rhine. It also has ports and a cross-border canal network that are well-suited for the tanker transportation of liquid hydrogen. The delivery and distribution of hydrogen will play a crucial role for Germany as a whole, according to Hoogers.
Green hydrogen is a climate-neutral energy carrier that is needed on a global scale, especially for energy-intensive industries such as the glass and steel industries. The Saar steel industry is looking to transition to green steel, which requires high quantities of hydrogen. Chemical manufacturing, where Rhineland-Palatinate plays a key global role, is also likely to have high demand for hydrogen in the future.
It is estimated that almost half of the hydrogen required in Germany will need to be imported, with some being produced in southern Europe or North Africa using sun and wind power before being transported through natural gas pipelines that can be converted to hydrogen fuel.
In addition to “green hydrogen,” hydrogen will also soon be created in France using nuclear energy for electrolysis, which is known as “pink hydrogen” and is considered sustainable by the EU Commission. Rhineland-Palatinate is well-positioned to produce green hydrogen on its own, with around half of its hydrogen needs being able to be generated by wind and solar energy. However, the state must follow its plan for the continued expansion of wind and solar energy and put the appropriate infrastructure in place to produce hydrogen.
Read the most up to date Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Industry news at FuelCellsWorks
Electrolyzers, which split water into hydrogen and oxygen using clean electricity, create hydrogen without emitting carbon dioxide. However, Hoogers warns against merely buying electrolyzers from the local market, stating that Rhineland-Palatinate offers fascinating industrial research possibilities for plate manufacture for electrolyzers. The state has already announced funding for hydrogen projects totaling 184 million euros in November 2022, and there is a federal project in Saarland for automating the stacking of fuel cell plate technologies that could be applied to electrolysis.