Hydrogen is the sustainable future, especially in conjunction with renewable energies. Hydrogen opens up new possibilities for making CO2-free energy from sun and wind available for mobility, heating and industry.
The innovative eFarm hydrogen mobility project, initiated by GP JOULE GmbH, Reußenköge, shows how this can be achieved. The project is currently setting a new milestone in Schleswig-Holstein for producing as well as using regional and regenerative energy. The largest German H2 mobility project, which is now in the middle of its construction phase, connects the individual sectors of the energy system in an ecologically and economically remarkable way.
“eFarm produces and supplies 100% green hydrogen for mobility and thus generates regional added value and jobs. This is a concept that creates completely new perspectives for cities and municipalities, but also for citizens,” explains Ove Petersen, founder and CEO of the GP JOULE Group, whose declared goal is 100% renewable energy. This was also the opinion of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, which is supporting eFarm with 8 million euros.
A big day for eFarm: The ground-breaking ceremony for the first hydrogen filling station in North Frisia in Niebüll was held on 4 May.
“How do we achieve our climate goals in the areas transport, heat and industry? Exclusively by using renewable energies in all energy sectors. However, in order to make these available, storable and thus usable for all sectors, a large proportion of solar and wind power must be converted into hydrogen in the future,” says Petersen. The eFarm project demonstrates exactly this approach and converts wind power from older wind turbines into hydrogen at five locations. This process in the so-called electrolysers also generates waste heat, which is used for heating buildings in existing or newly constructed local heating networks. The hydrogen is transported by truck in mobile storage containers to two H2 filling stations. These supply fuel for fuel cell buses, trucks and also cars. The fuel cells convert the hydrogen back into electricity to power the vehicles.
“Sounds very simple”, laughs André Steinau, member of the executive management at GP JOULE and responsible for the company’s hydrogen projects. “But our project developers and technicians spent numerous years of development work until the eFarm project could be realized.” In 2016, the renewable energy experts launched a feasibility study with the support of the state of Schleswig-Holstein. Steinau now drives a hydrogen-powered Hyundai Nexo. “GP JOULE is itself a project planner, builder and operator of sustainable projects. In this way we can test innovations directly at our premises”.
The consumption of hydrogen is taken into account at the same time
In addition to the first electrolysis site in Bosbüll in North Frisia, a hydrogen filling station is being built and operated in Husum and Niebüll respectively; the ground-breaking ceremony in Niebüll took place on 4 May.
At the filling stations, two fuel cell buses, which were purchased as part of the project, will be refuelled and used regionally in public transport. Since 19 further investors are involved in the eFarm project, there is already a great willingness on their part to invest in more than 100 hydrogen vehicles, from passenger cars to trucks, and to use the green, regional hydrogen supply. “This finally creates a real connection and benefit between regional renewable energy production and local energy consumption. This is decisive for the acceptance and expansion of renewable energy generation, for creating jobs and long-term added value,” says Ove Petersen.
His commitment is inspiring and even renowned credit institutions are convinced of the pioneers of complex, sustainable infrastructures. For example, GLS Bank (consortium leader), Nord-Ostsee Sparkasse and VR Bank Westküste eG are financing eFarm on a long-term basis with 4.4 million euros.
About GP JOULE
Founded in 2009 based on the belief that a 100% renewable energy supply is feasible, GP JOULE is now a system provider for integrated energy solutions from solar, wind and biomass power as well as being a partner at the supply level for electricity, heat, hydrogen and electromobility. A pioneer in the area of sectoral cross-linkage, the medium-sized company group has a workforce of over 250 employees at sites in Germany, Europe and North America. GP JOULE holds the 2019 Schleswig-Holstein Business Environmental Award.