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Germany: Hydrogen Instead of Diesel

By May 7, 2019 7   min read  (1216 words)

May 7, 2019 |

Department of Energy Promotes Study on potentials of Hydrogen

Schwerin-WEMAG AG, Stadtwerke Schwerin and the transport company Volker Rumstich from Parchim are united in their interest in low-emission drives for road utility vehicles. The focus is currently on hydrogen as an alternative fuel and energy source. The companies have jointly commissioned a study to investigate the conditions of use of non-carbon commercial vehicles and city buses in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. 

The study is funded by the Ministry of Energy, Infrastructure and Digitalization Mecklenburg-Vorpommern with 36,000 euros.

Christian Pegel, Minister for Energy, Infrastructure and Digitalization in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (r.) Hands over the grant decision in the amount of 36,000 euros to the project partners, represented by Thomas Murche, technical director of WEMAG; Volker Rumstich, Managing Director of the transport company Volker Rumstich Transport GmbH; Siegbert Eisenach, Chief Executive of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Schwerin; Dr. Josef Wolf, Managing Director of Stadtwerke Schwerin GmbH and Sylvia Schimanek, head of the project “Blue-Line” at WEMAG (from right to left). Photo: WEMAG / Diana Kuhrau

Together with the Schwerin Chamber of Industry and Commerce, WEMAG AG, Stadtwerke Schwerin and the transport company Rumstich are partners in the project “Blue-Line” Westmecklenburg. Hydrogen is to be used as alternative and green energy along the main infrastructure axes A 24 via Valluhn / Gallin, Schwerin and Parchim. The declared aim of the network partners is to store the energy generated in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern from wind and solar plants in molecular form, ie hydrogen and also LNG gas. Currently there is a lack of adequate storage.

“For a successful energy turnaround, we not only need a turnaround in electricity, but also a turnaround in heat and mobility. The German and European climate protection goals are hardly achievable without a change in heat generation and in our mobility. That is why we are very interested in the fact that commercial vehicles and public passenger transport companies are also contributing to carbon dioxide reduction, “said Energy Minister Christian Pegel, adding:” The preliminary studies are of great importance for analyzing the conditions of use of carbon dioxide-free vehicles. That is why we very much support the partners of the “Blue-Line” network in Westmecklenburg in this project. ”

WEMAG offers green electricity products. It has been building and operating battery storage systems for years. However, these are not suitable for storage of wind and solar energy over days or weeks. Therefore, the interest in the use of wind power for the production of hydrogen by electrolysis and for its storage and the provision as fuel for fuel cell vehicles in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is increasing worldwide. “We have already invested in the development of power-to-gas storage technology in the past and gained valuable experience with this environmentally friendly process. The gas distribution network is not without reason the battery of the future, “said Thomas Murche, technical director of WEMAG.

“Stadtwerke Schwerin GmbH (SWS) deals with the development of alternative and sustainable energy supply concepts. We are convinced that in the future, wind power will be stored via Power-to-X technologies and ideally will then be used as space heating or fuel in the mobility market. For a long time, we have been operating the natural gas network in the state capital of Schwerin and currently two natural gas filling stations for passenger cars, “said SWS Managing Director Dr. Ing. Josef Wolf. At the same time, hydrogen is becoming increasingly important. In particular, there is an interest in adding hydrogen from wind energy into the existing natural gas grid. This will allow municipal utility vehicles to be refueled with hydrogen-fueled natural gas combustion engines until the gas grid is converted to carbon dioxide-free gases.

The transport company Volker Rumstich Transport GmbH from Parchim is committed to the use of alternative and low-emission propulsion engines. The company is interested in the use of fully electric commercial vehicles. “Fuel cells have a potentially high energy storage density. In contrast to the battery drive, the fuel cell drive in commercial vehicles already seems to allow ranges of 700 kilometers. This makes the heavy vehicles with fuel cells even more attractive to us as fleet operators, “said managing director Volker Rumstich. The battery-powered truck is not certified at greater distances, no future.

The IHK zu Schwerin, the initiator of the Blue Line project, is convinced of the future use of hydrogen: “A Blue-Line from West to East via Schwerin can make the usability of hydrogen recognizable. The location Westmecklenburg can be a culmination point for hydrogen production from renewable energies and its storage and infrastructure for mobility and heat or cold “, said Klaus Uwe Scheifler, Business Unit Manager at the Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Schwerin. “Close coordination in the country and beyond with the metropolitan region of Hamburg and throughout the North is important. We need an extension of the experimental field for sector coupling in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, “concludes Scheifler.

The aim of the study, funded by the Ministry of Energy, is to develop a recommendation for suitable production, storage, distribution and application scenarios for hydrogen as a fuel in road traffic. Both technical and economic aspects are considered and the renewable energies generated in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern are included.

In order to make the expansion of the hydrogen infrastructure more economical and to increase the number of commercial vehicles with fuel cells for filling stations, it is necessary to bundle fleet operators. Potential drivers here are mainly the food industry in northern Germany, but also municipal or private light goods transport.

The use of existing gas stations by cars and trucks is already possible with little conversion effort. Based on the results of the study, measures and a strategy for implementation in West Mecklenburg will be developed from autumn 2019 onwards. “With this study, we are pioneering in many areas and the results will be of great relevance,” announced WEMAG Board Member Murche.

A key aspect here is the power-to-gas technology, in which electricity is used to produce hydrogen by electrolysis. For this purpose, the surplus energy is to be used, for example, from wind power and photovoltaic systems. At present, interest in sectoral coupling for the use of sustainable energy sources in the transport sector is increasing. At the same time, alternative drive technologies for commercial vehicles and the use of hydrogen as a fuel and energy carrier will be further developed.

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