Twelve Companies Join Forces to Form the Hamburg Hydrogen Network

By April 26, 2021 15   min read  (3078 words)

April 26, 2021 |

fuel cells works, Hydrogen Project in Hamburg on German Government Shortlist
  • Mitsubishi, Shell, ArceloMitall &Vattenfall Partner in Newly Established Hamburg Hydrogen Network to ‘Make Hamburg Greener’

Hamburg, Germany— The companies Airbus, ArcelorMittal, Gasnetz Hamburg, GreenPlug, Hamburger Hafen und Logistik, Hamburg Port Authority, HADAG Seetouristik und Fahrdienst as well as Stadtreinigung Hamburg, together with the companies behind the Hamburg Green Hydrogen Hub – namely Shell, Vattenfall, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Warme Hamburg – have formed the Hamburg Hydrogen Network (Wasserstoffverbund Hamburg).

The companies Airbus, ArcelorMittal, Gasnetz Hamburg, GreenPlug, Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG, Hamburg Port Authority, HADAG Seetouristik und Fährdienst and Stadtreinigung Hamburg have together with the Hamburg Green Hydrogen Hub (consisting of Shell, Vattenfall, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Wärme Hamburg ) – the hydrogen network Hamburg was formed.

The federal government and the European Union want to support prominent projects and thus lay the foundation for a strong hydrogen economy in Europe. In a first campaign, the Hamburg Hydrogen Association has jointly submitted an application as part of an EU-wide funding program.

The joint projects for the production, distribution and use of hydrogen make a decisive contribution to reducing greenhouse gases. As early as 2026, the network partners will be able to reduce CO2 emissions in Hamburg by 170,000 tons per year through their application projects. Through the use of hydrogen by means of electrolysis on site, imports from the sea and connection to the European hydrogen network, the joint project offers the potential that by 2030 more than one million tonnes of the currently around 16 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in Hamburg can be saved annually.

The green hydrogen produced by the Hamburg Green Hydrogen Hub would primarily replace fossil fuels in industrial production as well as in the transport and logistics sector. The use of waste heat from electrolysis for the district heating network and the thermal treatment of municipal waste, in addition to the use of hydrogen, also help to further reduce the ecological footprint of a large number of other industries.

With the planned conversion of a coal-fired power plant in Hamburg-Moorburg into a scalable 100-megawatt electrolysis system for the production of green hydrogen from renewable energies, the foundation stone is laid for building a complete hydrogen value chain in Hamburg. With its extensive network of potential industrial applications and service partners, the port forms a unique location-specific platform.

Positive transference effects
In addition, the network enables positive transmission effects in Germany and throughout Europe. It is already closely linked to other activities in the neighboring countries of northern Germany. Above all, international cooperation is intended to help link production facilities for renewable electricity and hydrogen, infrastructure and distribution as well as demand generators from heavy industry to road, rail, water and air transport.

The joint application submitted by the twelve Hamburg companies as part of the EU-wide funding program “Important Projects of Common European Interest” (IPCEI) includes nine complementary projects to achieve this goal – all in the area of ​​the Hamburg port area. Financial support from the German federal government as part of the IPCEI program is required to implement the pioneering joint project and to close the cost gap between green hydrogen and fossil fuel applications.

The nine projects include:

HGHH – Hamburg Green Hydrogen Hub
The companies Shell, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Vattenfall and the municipal company Wärme Hamburg are planning to jointly generate hydrogen from wind and solar energy at the Hamburg-Moorburg power station and use it in the vicinity. In addition to the construction of a scalable electrolyser with an output of 100 megawatts, the further development of the site into a so-called “Green Energy Hub” is planned. “The establishment of an electrolysis plant for the production of green hydrogen on the site of a decommissioned coal-fired power plant is an excellent example of how the redesign of fossil fuel production facilities at other locations in Europe can be achieved,” explains Fabian Ziegler (CEO Shell Germany)

As a fundamental contribution to the global climate goals, Airbus intends to sustainably reduce the emissions caused in aviation with the aircraft concept ZEROe. ZEROe stands for a hydrogen-powered commercial aircraft. The concept “Hydrogen for the infrastructure and production of aviation in Northern Germany” (WIPLiN) provides, among other things, that the expansion of the hydrogen infrastructure will be promoted. “For Airbus, hydrogen is a key technology with a view to the aviation of the future It is not just about the propulsion of aircraft, but also the infrastructure of our production site. We are one of the largest employers and industrial companies in the Hamburg region. Therefore, the expansion of the hydrogen industry network and further electrolysis capacities are important for us “, says Dr. André Walter, CEO of Airbus Commercial in Germany and Production Manager in Hamburg.

With the production of green steel, the company is contributing to the “H2 for Hamburg” (H2H) project to enable a significant proportion of the reduction in CO2 emissions in the supply chain. As part of the H2H project, the Hamburg ArcelorMittal plant is to be converted to climate-neutral steel production in four steps by 2030. This includes the construction of a hydrogen-powered demonstration plant for the direct reduction of iron ore (H2First) as well as the technological retrofitting of the existing direct reduction plant (H2Ready) in order to replace the use of natural gas with green hydrogen in the long term. “To ensure the supply of green hydrogen, we rely on the local hydrogen industry network and a significant proportion of hydrogen from the Hamburg Green Hydrogen Hub,” comments Dr. Uwe Braun,

Hamburg gas network
With the project “Hamburg Hydrogen Industry Network” (HH-WIN), the company plans to build a reliable infrastructure for the hydrogen needs of Hamburg’s industry in the nationwide and European network by 2030. The hydrogen infrastructure is the central link between all joint projects. The project is to be developed and implemented in a needs-oriented and step-by-step manner. “It is our declared goal to create the possibility for Hamburg’s industrial companies to replace their natural gas requirements with climate-neutral green hydrogen. Via local electrolysis,

With the “H2 push boat” (H2SB) project, the company has designed an emission-free push boat with a thrust of 2400 tons at a speed of 10 knots. The energy system consists of pressurized hydrogen storage tanks and fuel cells with buffer batteries that drive the ship’s propellers via a direct current network. In the first step of the project, GreenPlug plans to build and test a push boat. Then nine more push boats will be built and chartered out to operators. “This innovative application project strengthens the economy in the design, construction and operation of inland vessels, especially for hydrogen and fuel cell technology. We will purchase green hydrogen as soon as it is available,” comments Dr. Agnus Cassens, CEO of GreenPlug.

Hamburger Hafen und Logistik
Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) is planning various types of heavy-duty equipment (such as straddle carriers, trucks, tractors, forklifts, empty container handlers, reach stackers and a shunting locomotive) with fuel cell drives with the “Hydrogen Logistics Applications & Distribution” (H2LOAD) project put into operation. “If the project is successful, we see the potential to apply the experience from Hamburg on a large scale at our other German and numerous European locations in order to make a significant contribution to the decarbonization of European logistics,” says Lars Neumann, Director Logistics, Strategy and Business Development the Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG.

Hamburg Port Authority
With the Hydrogen Port Applications (HyPA) project, the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) as an infrastructure provider and enabler for roads, rails and waterways in the Port of Hamburg is setting two different priorities. The transformation of mobility into the post-carbon era is directed on the one hand to the provision of hydrogen filling stations for locomotives, ships and trucks and on the other hand to the construction and use of innovative hydrogen-powered ships. “A hydrogen tank infrastructure in the Hamburg port area enables emission-free transport in the heavily used port area and is an essential step towards decarbonization,” says Jens Meier, CEO of the Hamburg Port Authority.

HADAG Seetouristik und Fährdienst AG
As the operator of public transport passenger ferries in the Port of Hamburg, the public company of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg is planning to use emission-free ships in its fleet. In the H2HADAG project, three new ships will be converted from diesel hybrids to hydrogen hybrids and two additional ships will be built (directly as hydrogen hybrids). “We will be an integral part of the Hamburg hydrogen network’s value chain. With our fleet, the people of Hamburg will arrive at their destination in a climate-neutral way, ”says Dr. Tobias Haack, board member of HADAG.

City cleaning Hamburg
Stadtreinigung Hamburg is building the Center for Resources and Energy (ZRE) in Hamburg Stellingen. With the “Waste to Hydrogen for Hamburg” project, it wants to use electricity from the thermal recycling of non-material residues together with the Hamburg-Holstein, Wärme Hamburg, Gasnetz Hamburg and Hamburg Energie transport companies. This electricity is to be used via electrolysis to generate green hydrogen and also to charge batteries for e-mobility. “We are making a sustainable contribution to making green electricity usable in many other areas through the thermal recycling of residual materials. This includes promoting climate-friendly mobility with alternative drive technologies such as hydrogen garbage trucks or buses, “says Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Siechau, Managing Director of Stadtreinigung Hamburg.

Background: “Important Projects of Common European Interest” (IPCEI)
With the “Important Projects of Common European Interest” (IPCEI), the European Commission has created a program that allows exceptions to the strict ban on state aid. The aim is to promote a coordinated approach between EU countries and in this way to remedy serious market disruptions and to tackle special societal challenges. The “IPCEI Hydrogen” is intended to contribute to the market ramp-up for hydrogen technologies and systems along the entire hydrogen value chain, taking into account the objectives at EU level. Companies in Germany were able to express their interest in this with the Federal Ministry of Economics by February 19, 2021 with initial project sketches.

About the companies Airbus
Airbus is a pioneer in sustainable aerospace for a safe and unified world. The company is constantly working on innovations for efficient and technologically advanced solutions in the fields of aerospace, defense and networked services. Airbus offers modern and fuel-efficient commercial aircraft and related services. Airbus is also a European leader in defense and security and one of the largest space companies in the world. In the helicopter sector, Airbus provides the world’s most efficient solutions and services for civil and military helicopters.

ArcelorMittal is the world’s leading steel and mining company with a presence in 60 countries and steel production plants in 18 countries. In 2020, ArcelorMittal had sales of $ 53.3 billion and crude steel production of 71.5 million tons, while iron ore production reached 58 million tons. With a production volume of around 8 million tons of crude steel, ArcelorMittal is one of the largest steel manufacturers in Germany. The automotive, construction and packaging industries are just as much a customer base as the household goods sector. The company operates four large production sites in Germany. This includes two integrated flat steel mills in Bremen and Eisenhüttenstadt as well as two long steel mills in Hamburg and Duisburg. Our goal is to contribute to a better world with smarter steels – steels that are manufactured using innovative processes that use less energy, emit significantly less CO2 and reduce costs.

Gasnetz Hamburg 
Gasnetz Hamburg GmbH is a wholly-owned company of the city and operates the natural gas network in the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg with a length of around 7,900 kilometers, around 160,000 house connections and almost 230,000 network customers. The network includes high, medium, low pressure and house connection lines as well as around 600 gas pressure regulating systems. The network is controlled and monitored from a central control center.
Gasnetz Hamburg is preparing the infrastructure for increasing feed-in of green gas such as bio-methane and hydrogen. This means that the gas network can make an even greater contribution to climate protection in Hamburg.

GreenPlug is a Hamburg joint venture for the construction and operation of sustainable port solutions. In addition to emission-free hydrogen-powered push boats, the focus of the business is on supplying large ships with low emissions using an e-power barge. GreenPlug GmbH builds on the many years of experience and expertise of the Eckelmann Group and Westnetz GmbH. 

Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) is a leading European logistics company. With a dense network of seaport terminals in Hamburg, Odessa, Tallinn and Trieste, excellent hinterland connections and associated intermodal hubs in Central and Eastern Europe, HHLA is the logistical and digital hub along the transport flows of the future. The business model is based on innovative technologies and is committed to sustainability. 

The Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) has been operating future-oriented port management from a single source since 2005 and is active wherever efficiency, safety and profitability are concerned in the Port of Hamburg. The HPA meets the growing demands of the port with intelligent and innovative solutions. The HPA is responsible for the efficient, resource-saving and sustainable planning and implementation of infrastructure measures in the port and is the point of contact for all questions regarding the water and land-side infrastructure, the safety and ease of shipping, the port railway facilities, property management and the economic conditions in the port . For this purpose, the HPA provides the necessary space and takes on all sovereign tasks and port management services. It markets special, port-specific expertise and also looks after the Hamburg port interests on a national and international level. 

Since 1888 the ferries of HADAG Seetouristik und Fährdienst AG (HADAG) have been operating in regular service in the Port of Hamburg and on the Elbe. They have thus become an indispensable part of fast and attractive local transport in Hamburg. HADAG currently owns and operates 26 ships on 8 fixed routes. Around 10 million passengers are carried annually. The ships are custom-made, which can mostly be operated by a skipper. The use of the ships is characterized by strongly changing load requirements, both during the journey and during the change of passengers at the 21 ferry docks. 

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group is one of the world’s leading industrial groups encompassing the energy, logistics and infrastructure, industrial machinery, aerospace and defense sectors. MHI Group combines cutting-edge technology with vast experience to offer innovative, integrated solutions that help create a carbon neutral world, improve quality of life and ensure a safer world. For more information, please visit or follow our insights and stories at  

Shell Germany
The energy company Shell is one of the pioneers in H2 mobility and in the production of green hydrogen; The main markets include Germany and the Netherlands. One of the world’s first hydrogen electrolysers for the production of green hydrogen will go into operation in the Shell Energy and Chemicals Park Rheinland in July 2021. Shell is also involved in the Aqua Ventus joint project, which aims to install ten gigawatts of offshore electrolysis capacity in the North Sea near Helgoland by 2035, and also in wind-hydrogen projects such as NortH2 in the Netherlands. In the transport sector, Shell works with the leading manufacturers of commercial vehicles on the logistics for commercial vehicles with fuel cell drives. 

Stadtreinigung Hamburg
Stadtreinigung is Hamburg’s largest service provider in the field of waste and resource management. With around 4,000 employees in the group, as a full-service partner for public, commercial and private assignments, it offers collection of recyclable materials and waste disposal as well as cleaning services from a single source. As a public waste management company and certified waste management company, Stadtreinigung Hamburg (SRH) collects, transports, stores and treats waste from over a million Hamburg private households and 100,000 commercial operations. In addition, the SRH employees clean 5,808 km of lanes and 5,582 km of sidewalks per week and take care of the cleanliness of green areas, beaches, parks and public playgrounds in Hamburg. Stadtreinigung Hamburg has been the sole shareholder of the Rugenberger Damm waste recycling plant (MVR) since the beginning of 2020. Together with the Borsigstrasse waste recycling plant (MVB) and the Bützberg biogas and composting plant, the largest waste recycling plants in Hamburg are all in one hand. Last year, SRH generated 1,502,999 MWh of electricity and heat in its systems and saved 182,197 t of CO2 in the process.

Vattenfall is a leading European energy company that has electrified industry for more than 100 years, powering people’s homes and
modernizing the way we live through innovation and collaboration. We now want to enable a fossil-free life within a generation. That is why we are driving the transition to a sustainable energy system through initiatives to generate renewable energies and climate-friendly energy solutions for our customers. We employ around 20,000 people and operate mainly in Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and the UK. Vattenfall is owned by the Swedish state. 

Warmth Hamburg
Wärme Hamburg GmbH is a municipal company that supplies around 500,000 residential units in Hamburg with local district heating for heating and hot water. Warmth Hamburg will completely dispense with heat from coal combustion by 2030 and is primarily relying on the consistent use of existing waste heat from industry, sewage and waste recycling. The company has a pipeline system 860 kilometers long and can generate around 1,800 megawatts of heat. The annual heat sales are 4,000 gigawatt hours. The share of the Hamburg heating market is around 22 percent. 

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