Energy transition: Northerners are building a common hydrogen economy

Hydrogen for Northern Germany: Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein have decided on a measure for climate protection. They want to build a sustainable hydrogen economy together in the coming decade.

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The Economics and Transport Ministers of the North German Federal States have one common hydrogen strategy decided. Thereafter, the capacity for the production of hydrogen by electrolysis will be expanded. For this purpose, electricity from renewable sources should be used, such as wind power from offshore installations.

By 2030, the electrolysis capacity in northern Germany should be at least 500 megawatts. That should be enough to refuel around 150,000 cars with green hydrogen. By 2035, the electrolysis capacity is to be expanded to 5 gigawatts. Hamburg recently announced the construction of an electrolyzer at the port, which will have a capacity of 100 megawatts. To get the green hydrogen in the car, hydrogen refueling stations have to be built. Around 250 hydrogen refueling stations are needed in northern countries for nationwide supply.

Hydrogen should be stored underground

The Northerners are in a good position for such a project: enough capacity would be available for onshore and offshore wind power as well as underground formations suitable for storing hydrogen. There are already industries that have experience in dealing with hydrogen. Further know-how is to be generated in six North German real laboratories of the energy transition. After all, hydrogen and synthetic fuels could initially be imported via the seaports, but later also be shipped, according to the strategy paper.

However, the expansion of a North German hydrogen economy is only a first step. The initiators are already planning an extension: In a second step, the neighboring countries in the west and north – the Netherlands and Denmark, Norway and Sweden – added, announced the Hamburg Economic and Transport Senator Michael Westhagemann at a VW event on autonomous driving mid-week ,

In addition, Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein want to reduce pollutant emissions from ships in their ports. Ships are to receive shore power through appropriate facilities during layover rather than self-supplying themselves with electricity from fossil-fueled generators.

The scheme is initially mandatory for ships that are already equipped with a shore power connection, which is currently only a very small number. After a transitional period, only ships from Hamburg and the ports of Schleswig-Holstein are allowed to start, which can take in shore power or supply themselves with clean electricity, such as a fuel cell.

Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein have been working together for some time on the project Norddeutsche Energiewende (NEW 4.0).