Berlin Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek (CDU) is stepping up the pace on the subject of hydrogen: She is providing a total of 700 million euros for three large research projects with numerous industrial companies. These should enable the series production of systems for the production of hydrogen, so-called electrolysers, in Germany.
It is also a matter of researching the cheapest options for global transport and advancing the technology to generate hydrogen on-site with the help of wind power on the high seas. The project plans, which will be presented on Wednesday, are available to the Handelsblatt.
The EU has set itself the goal of becoming the technology leader in hydrogen. In the summer of 2020, the federal government announced an additional seven billion euros in funding for its market establishment.
We have to pull even more together, ”she told the Handelsblatt, referring to the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The cooperation in the federal government is not yet considered to be optimal for this key technology.
Many countries have now recognized the potential: “Hydrogen strategies are being published around the world, countries are massively intensifying their efforts – I’m thinking here of Australia, Japan, South Korea, but also of countries in Africa and the Middle East,” said Karliczek. In order for 2021 to be a year of green hydrogen, she and Stefan Kaufmann, the federal government’s innovation officer for “Green Hydrogen”, want to “go a little further” in promoting innovation.
The projects selected in the “Hydrogen Republic of Germany” ideas competition in 2020 are now being operated by industry-led consortia. In total, almost 100 large companies such as Siemens, Thyssen and RWE are involved, but also a good 30 smaller ones. More could join, according to the ministry.
The largest project is “H2Giga”: It is intended to develop the technology for series production of electrolysers – production systems that could then be exported worldwide. Because green hydrogen is cheapest to produce where there is a lot of solar and wind energy (see map).
There are already high-performance systems, but these are still largely manufactured piece by piece “by hand”. The aim is now the assembly line production of three different electrolysers for “PEM”, alkaline and high-temperature electrolysis.
The consortium coordinated by the “Dechema Society for Chemical Technology and Biotechnology” brings together 112 partners from industry and science, including Thyssen-Krupp, Siemens, Linde / ITM-Power, MAN / HTEC, Sunfire, Schaeffler, Evonik and Shell.
The second project, “TransHyDE”, is intended to develop transport options for hydrogen, because completely new technologies are needed here alongside the gas networks. The focus is on transport in high-pressure containers, as a liquid or bound in ammonia. This includes the development of standards and safety regulations as well as the development of suitable materials.
The 89 partners are coordinated by RWE Renewables GmbH, the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion and the Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Infrastructure. RWE, GRTgaz Deutschland, ONTRAS Gastransport and Open Grid Europe GmbH are also there.
The “H2Mare” consortium led by Siemens Energy is to research the production of green hydrogen on the high seas, which would also be possible for Germany. Such offshore generation of green hydrogen and other so-called “Power-to-X” products is, according to the ministry, “unique to date” and has “the potential to develop a global beacon effect from Germany: if successful, the Technology creates new export opportunities for Germany. ”
However, the special conditions at sea made high demands on the construction, material and operation of the systems. Research here is about fundamental investigations and extensive technology development.
The prospects are tempting because offshore wind turbines generate more and more electricity more regularly – on average around 5 megawatts compared to 3.5 megawatts on land. In addition, there is much more space for wind farms at sea.
In addition, “the direct coupling of the wind turbine and the electrolyser would minimize the costs of hydrogen production,” says the concept. In addition, the coupled production at sea could relieve the networks on land. In addition to Siemens, RWE and Salzgitter Mannesmann Forschung GmbH are involved.
When it comes to research into production in the direct vicinity of offshore wind turbines, the focus will be on green methane, methanol, ammonia and synthetic fuels in addition to hydrogen.
More: Green hydrogen: Germany paves the way for industrial production
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