“Green hydrogen is tomorrow’s petroleum”
In last week’s meeting (April 21st) of the Council of Ministers, Environment Minister Franz Untersteller outlined a new world to his cabinet colleagues in which traffic, industry, or the heating sector can manage almost entirely without harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
“In order to protect our climate, we also have to bring renewable energy sources into fields of application that have so far been difficult to electrify,” said Untersteller. “And hydrogen and fuel cell technology will play an important role in industry and transport in the medium to long term.” For this reason, Untersteller presented the plans for a hydrogen roadmap for the country to the Council of Ministers.
The Environment Minister added that time was pressing. Green hydrogen, which is generated from renewable electricity in a climate-neutral manner, offers great potential, especially for Baden-Württemberg as an industrial and technology location. “But we cannot wait to implement the appropriate measures and make further investments,” Untersteller made it clear. “Rather, the next two to five years will be decisive as to what role the country will play in the future global market for hydrogen and fuel cells.
Baden-Württemberg is to become a global pioneer in hydrogen
According to Untersteller, Baden-Württemberg should become a pioneer worldwide. “Green hydrogen can become tomorrow’s oil. It offers great opportunities for the country to maintain its current economic performance and international competitiveness and to further expand it through existing research and technology expertise as well as innovative ability. “
In order to achieve this ambitious goal, Baden-Württemberg needs a clear road map, a so-called roadmap, for building a hydrogen economy. The goals of such a roadmap are to present Baden-Württemberg as an important location for the hydrogen and fuel cell industry both nationally and internationally and to position the companies operating here accordingly.
The roadmap also aims to ensure that the long-term expected potential of hydrogen can be used for the energy and transport transition as well as for climate protection in the country itself.
The Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region is a good example of the new world
Hydrogen and fuel cell technology has been a focus of research in Baden-Württemberg for several years. For example, the state government has been funding the HyFab fuel cell research factory, which is being set up by the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research in Ulm and Fraunhofer ISE in Freiburg, since December 2019. The project is being supported as part of the automotive industry strategy dialogue with 18.5 million euros. The aim of HyFab is to strengthen the supplier industry and to create an open, flexible platform in which fast, automated manufacturing and, above all, quality assurance processes for fuel cell stacks can be developed and tested.
The Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region is a good example of the potential of hydrogen in transport. There hydrogen is experienced and tried out, for example as a drive for buses. The region is one of the winners of the national competition “HyLand – hydrogen regions in Germany” and receives 20 million euros in federal funding for its concept for the networked expansion of hydrogen use and value creation. The cabinet has already approved the co-financing of the project with state funds of the same amount. “With this project, we can experience the world of tomorrow under real conditions,” says Untersteller. For example, a high-pressure filling system, H2 filling stations as well as cars, buses, refuse vehicles, and road service vehicles with fuel cell technology are to be used here.
To develop a hydrogen roadmap, an interdepartmental project group is to be set up under the leadership of the Ministry of the Environment, which coordinates the development of the roadmap. The roadmap will be drawn up in a close coordination process together with the departments concerned, industry, science, associations, and politics.
The subsequent implementation and support or further development of the roadmap should take place via a platform to be founded “Hydrogen and Fuel Cell – H2BW”.
The central actors include small and medium-sized as well as large international companies as well as university and non-university research institutions.
The start of the dialogue process is planned for July and should end with the creation of the roadmap and its presentation in December 2020.
Source: Ministry of Environment, Climate and Energy Economics Baden-Wurttemberg