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Metropolitan Region Rhein-Neckar Receives 20 Million Euros in Hydrogen Funding from the State of Baden-Württemberg

By March 20, 2020 6   min read  (1181 words)

March 20, 2020 |

  • Hydrogen model region plans total investments of more than 100 million euros
  • 40 fuel cell buses for Mannheim, Heidelberg, and Ludwigshafen
  • Accompanying research on fuel cell technology is an important part of the funding

The Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region is consistently continuing the strategic path towards the hydrogen model region.

As was finally decided in yesterday’s cabinet meeting, the state government of Baden-Württemberg is funding the demonstration and lighthouse project “H2Rivers” under the leadership of the Rhein-Neckar GmbH metropolitan region with 20 million euros.

The breakthrough to the “Model Region Hydrogen” was achieved in December 2019 by winning the “Hyland” competition announced by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) via the National Organization for Hydrogen (NOW). The victory in the highest category “HyPerformer” was also rewarded by the federal government with 20 million euros. As part of the application processing, an integrated regional hydrogen concept was developed, in which the “H2Rivers” consortium, consisting of 17 partners, mainly focuses on mobility applications. These include buses, garbage trucks, fuel cell cars, industrial trucks and vehicles for road service. A hydrogen hub with a high-pressure compression system,

Stefan Dallinger, chairman of the Rhine-Neckar Region Association said: “With the sustainable promotion of hydrogen and fuel cell technology, the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region is occupying an important future topic that once again demonstrates the innovative capacity of the metropolitan region and gives us national visibility as an attractive business location, also in Europe. In addition to the already approved federal funds of 20 million euros, the state of Baden-Württemberg is making a significant contribution to the implementation of an integrated hydrogen infrastructure and climate-friendly local public transport with further investment grants of 20 million euros.

Kappenstein sees hydrogen as an opportunity to position itself permanently in European competition and also to make a sustainable contribution to climate protection. After all, it was important to keep the increase in global warming below 1.5 degrees by the turn of the century. “We mainly do this with renewable energies, and hydrogen, in particular, is suitable for storing the regenerative energies and transporting them over long distances,” he explained.

40 fuel cell buses for Mannheim, Heidelberg, and Ludwigshafen

With these grants, the H2Rivers consortium will be the first region to make local public transport to a certain extent climate-neutral with around 40 fuel cell buses distributed across the region. “With these decisive advances in the transport sector, we are making an important contribution to implementing the energy transition in the metropolitan region,” says Bernd Kappenstein. After all, mobility causes around 20% of direct CO2 emissions. The switch from the combustion engine to climate-friendly drive technology is therefore one of the primary goals of the regional energy concept of the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region.

Accompanying research is an important part of the funding

Rhein-Neckar Verkehr GmbH (RNV) as the bus operator of the cities of Mannheim, Heidelberg and Ludwigshafen receives part of the funding. In addition to the articulated and solo buses, the scope of investment also includes two hydrogen filling stations, the upgrading of the workshops and the necessary charging infrastructure. The concrete implementation measures will be clarified in detail over the next few weeks. Accompanying research is also very important to the state of Baden-Württemberg, which is fed from the grant funds. This is expected to provide insights into the acceptance of the technology by users of public transport, energy flows, optimization, aging and behavior of the vehicles in the topography. Analogous to the duration of the “HyPeformer” project, the implementation is planned over 3 years.

Study shows great potential in Rhein-Neckar

Hydrogen is considered an energy source of the future and is increasingly coming into focus as part of the energy transition. Hydrogen in connection with fuel cell technology is one of the strategic growth areas in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region.

Under the leadership of Kappenstein, a working group made up of representatives from industrial, transport and supply companies, as well as the three regional centers Mannheim, Ludwigshafen and Heidelberg, has been working on the production and use of hydrogen since 2018. A study was commissioned by MRN GmbH to assess these development opportunities.

Independent experts from Thinkstep AG and Prognos AG analyzed the economic and ecological potential that results from the local production and use of hydrogen in the Rhine-Neckar region. Job effects and the implications for technology transfer were also examined.

Results

The identified hydrogen demand in Rhein-Neckar can probably be generated entirely locally and from renewable energies. According to the experts, the use of hydrogen and fuel cell applications could create up to 1,100 new jobs in the region, mostly in vehicle construction. The early promotion of hydrogen could drive the change to electric drives. In summary, the study published by the MRN in May 2019 attested great potential to become a pioneer in the use of hydrogen.

The identified hydrogen demand in Rhein-Neckar can probably be generated entirely locally and from renewable energies. According to the experts, the use of hydrogen and fuel cell applications could create up to 1,100 new jobs in the region, mostly in vehicle construction.

The early promotion of hydrogen could drive the change to electric drives.

In summary, the study published by the MRN in May 2019 attested great potential to become a pioneer in the use of hydrogen.

  • The identified hydrogen demand in Rhein-Neckar can probably be generated entirely locally and from renewable energies. According to the experts, the use of hydrogen and fuel cell applications could create up to 1,100 new jobs in the region, mostly in vehicle construction.
  • The early promotion of hydrogen could drive the change to electric drives. In summary, the study published by the MRN in May 2019 showed great potential to become a pioneer in the use of hydrogen.
  • The early promotion of hydrogen could drive the change to electric drives. In summary, the study published by the MRN in May 2019 attested great potential to become a pioneer in the use of hydrogen. The early promotion of hydrogen could drive the change to electric drives. In summary, the study published by the MRN in May 2019 attested great potential to become a pioneer in the use of hydrogen.

“HyLand – Hydrogen Regions in Germany” competition

The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) is designing and supporting the market launch of applications in this area with the “National Innovation Program for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology” (NIP). Research and development, as well as procurement projects, are funded. In addition to contributing to climate protection, the aim is, in particular, to maintain and expand the technological leadership of the German industry and the associated creation and safeguarding of future-proof jobs.

The NIP also supports the development, refinement, and implementation of integrated hydrogen concepts that deal with the regional production of – if possible green – hydrogen, its supply and with the demand through specific applications on-site, especially in the transport sector. By bundling funding in certain pioneer and lighthouse regions and penetrating the regional economy, mobility, and energy supply, the real use of the technology can also be demonstrated on a broad level with external impact, synergies can be exploited and investment sums reduced.

Photo: Metropolitan region Rhein-Neckar GmbH

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