Hydrogen: Germany’s First Test Stand for Electrolysers is Created

By March 21, 2020 3   min read  (568 words)

March 21, 2020 |

Fraunhofer IMWS Michael Deutsch Main

Leuna – The chemical industry based in the Leuna region requires large amounts of hydrogen for production. So far, this has been associated with high CO 2 emissions. That should also change with the help of the first test stand for electrolysers.

The state of Saxony-Anhalt and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft want to set new standards together with industry with the ELP electrolysis test and test platform at the chemical site in Leuna. In the future, green hydrogen will be produced on a large scale and integrated into the material flow process chain. The groundbreaking ceremony will take place in mid-2020, and the new plant will start operating in 2021.

High hydrogen demand at the Leuna chemical site in Saxony-Anhalt
The Central German chemical region needs around 100,000 standard cubic meters of hydrogen per hour, mainly at the Leuna industrial site for its chemical processes. So far, the required hydrogen has been obtained conventionally from natural gas. But that should change in the future. With a unique research unit, the Fraunhofer Electrolysis Test and Experiment Platform ELP, innovative technologies for the generation of regenerative hydrogen on a large scale will be merged with an already existing, excellent infrastructure of gas pipelines and gas storage facilities at the chemical site in Leuna.

New electrolysis systems necessary for the industry – use scaling effects
The development and scaling of new electrolysis systems for “green” hydrogen and their chemical use is a focus of the joint project of the Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes CBP in Leuna and the Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems IMWS in Halle (Saale ). Armin Willingmann, Minister of Economic Affairs of Saxony-Anhalt said on the occasion of the transfer of the donation notices: “Green hydrogen is a central piece of the puzzle for the energy transition and also offers huge potential for structural change after the coal phase-out. Thanks to its know-how and infrastructure, the Leuna location has the best prerequisites to become the nucleus of a German hydrogen economy. ” to make hydrogen production on an industrial scale a success with the help of renewable energies. The state-sponsored construction of the two pilot plants, in which the economy also plays a key role, creates the basis for this, the minister said.

Pilot plant and Germany’s first test stand for electrolyzers on an industrial scale
The ELP is intended to prepare the site for the industrial implementation of processes for the production of “green” hydrogen. One goal is to further develop electrolysers and synthetic processes and adapt them to fluctuating operation. The researchers’ main concern is the mapping of real operating conditions, which provide application-related engineering data for the design and cost estimation of the systems.

The creation of the Hy2Chem scaling platform is directly linked to the production of hydrogen or synthesis gas via the co-electrolysis of water and carbon dioxide in the ELP. This enables the use of the regeneratively produced gases for the synthesis of basic chemicals and fuels in sustainable synthesis processes for the first time on a large scale. With the electrolysis platform, Germany’s first electrolysis test stand is available, which is fully integrated into a material flow network in the chemical industry. Electrolysers with an output of up to 5 megawatts can be systemically tested here. The hydrogen is fed into the pipeline system of the cooperation partner Linde.

© IWR, 2020

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