Dsseldorf / Frankfurt (Reuters) – The energy technology group Siemens Energy and the wind turbine manufacturer Siemens Gamesa want to use a new technology to make hydrogen production ready for the market.
In a project costing around 120 million euros, the partners want to develop an offshore wind turbine that uses the electricity generated to produce hydrogen on site and forwards it to the customer via pipelines. The plans that the companies presented to the Reuters news agency are among the largest projects in this country in the hydrogen sector, which is of great importance for the implementation of climate protection goals.
“For us, hydrogen is an important topic for the future and we are working on it in various ways,” said Siemens Energy CEO Christian Bruch. This also includes producing hydrogen. In the project now presented, called “H2Mare”, hydrogen is to be generated directly at the offshore wind tower. “That must be as cheap as possible.” In the end, the system competes with an offshore wind farm that is connected to the power grid with a cable. It is now a matter of the partners developing a competitive product by the mid-2020s. As a buyer, one has in view industrial companies close to the coast such as steel mills, chemical plants or refineries. The federal government wants to support the project with millions in grants.
The Munich-based Siemens group had spun off its energy technology division last year and brought it to the stock exchange. The resulting Siemens Energy is the majority shareholder of Siemens Gamesa – the largest offshore wind turbine manufacturer in the world – with a share of 67 percent. Among the toughest competitors in this market are Vestas and General Electric.
HYDROGEN FOR THE COASTAL INDUSTRY
“We want to optimize the wind turbine completely for hydrogen production,” says Siemens Gamesa boss Andreas Nauen. “Molecules are produced instead of electrons.” That has many advantages. “The turbine can be made much simpler. You no longer have a grid connection. You can get through the coastal areas more easily with the pipes than with cables.” The aim is to offer another option and produce inexpensive green hydrogen. “We have to completely overhaul our machine, which was actually made for electricity production, completely change the electricity-producing part and connect it to the electrolysis.” The partners developed a hydrogen turbine. “We are aiming for our 14-megawatt turbine, which will be our bread and butter turbine in the mid-1920s.”
Hydrogen is considered to be a key for the energy transition and for the implementation of climate protection goals. Hydrogen can be used in steel production, for example, and thus reduce carbon dioxide emissions. However, a large part will probably have to be imported. However, a lot of electricity is used in production. Therefore the hydrogen should be produced with the help of renewable energies.
Steel companies like Thyssenkrupp or Salzgitter, energy giants like RWE or chemical companies like Evonik are working on hydrogen projects. The EU expects investments in this area of up to 470 million euros and up to one million new jobs by 2050. The federal government has made available nine billion euros to advance the issue.
The federal government wants to support the project presented now. “Green hydrogen is an opportunity of the century for Germany in terms of innovation and industrial policy. We want to make our country the leading market and global leading supplier of hydrogen technologies,” said Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek on Wednesday. “In order to get rid of the big hurdles when entering the hydrogen economy, we are now starting a superlative initiative with our three hydrogen flagship projects.” The federal government will provide 700 million euros for the flagship projects by 2025.