Com­plete sec­tor cou­pling: Green hydro­gen and decar­bon­i­sa­tion on an indus­tri­al scale

Fly­ing, build­ing and heat­ing more sus­tain­ably in the future — that is the goal of the “West­küste 100” real-world lab­o­ra­to­ry. The aim is to map and scale a region­al hydro­gen econ­o­my on an indus­tri­al scale. The con­di­tions for this are unique, espe­cial­ly on the west coast of Schleswig-Hol­stein: Here, a strong wind ener­gy region and excel­lent geo­log­i­cal stor­age con­di­tions meet inno­v­a­tive com­pa­nies that want to active­ly shape the future and make an impor­tant con­tri­bu­tion to achiev­ing cli­mate pro­tec­tion goals.

In Schleswig-Hol­stein, the cross-indus­try part­ner­ship “West­küste 100” has formed between EDF Ger­many, Hol­cim Ger­many, OGE, Ørst­ed, Raf­finer­ie Hei­de, Stadtwerke Hei­de, thyssenk­rupp Indus­tri­al Solu­tions and Thü­ga — togeth­er with the Region Hei­de devel­op­ment agency and the West­küste Uni­ver­si­ty of Applied Sci­ence. The hydro­gen will then be used to pro­duce cli­mate-friend­ly fuels for air­craft as well as fed into gas grids. In fuel pro­duc­tion with­out fos­sil fuels, unavoid­able CO2 from region­al cement pro­duc­tion is used for the pro­duc­tion process. What is spe­cial and inno­v­a­tive about this real-world lab­o­ra­to­ry project is the inter­lock­ing of dif­fer­ent mate­r­i­al cycles with­in an already exist­ing region­al infrastructure.

Real-world lab­o­ra­to­ries of the ener­gy revolution

At the begin­ning of April 2019 the “West­küste 100” research and devel­op­ment con­cept was sub­mit­ted as a pro­pos­al in the ideas com­pe­ti­tion organ­ised by the Fed­er­al Min­istry of Eco­nom­ics enti­tled “Real-world lab­o­ra­to­ries fos­ter­ing the ener­gy tran­si­tion”.  Real-world lab­o­ra­to­ries offer the oppor­tu­ni­ty to accel­er­ate the trans­fer of tech­nol­o­gy and inno­va­tion from research to prac­tice. This enables tech­ni­cal and non-tech­ni­cal ideas and inno­va­tions to be devel­oped and test­ed under real con­di­tions and on an indus­tri­al scale.

Jür­gen Wollschläger, man­ag­ing direc­tor of Raf­finer­ie Hei­de and project coor­di­na­tor: “We have a clear vision in the real-world lab­o­ra­to­ries team of the  West­küste 100: The part­ners focus on long-term coop­er­a­tions that range from the gen­er­a­tion of green elec­tric­i­ty to the pro­duc­tion of syn­thet­ic hydro­car­bons and thus form the nucle­us for sus­tain­able busi­ness mod­els in the area of ener­gy sys­tem trans­for­ma­tion and decarbonization.

Details of the project outline

With­in the five-year project peri­od, an elec­trol­y­sis plant with a capac­i­ty of 30 megawatts is to be installed ini­tial­ly. It will pro­vide insights into the oper­a­tion, main­te­nance, con­trol and grid ser­vice­abil­i­ty of the plants in order to trans­fer them to the next scal­ing step. This could, for exam­ple, be an elec­trol­y­sis plant in the order of 700 MW, for which the elec­tric­i­ty is gen­er­at­ed by an off­shore wind farm.

Region­al, holis­tic and scalable

The approach of the “West­küste 100” real-world lab­o­ra­to­ry is holis­tic: the regen­er­a­tive ener­gy gen­er­at­ed with the help of wind pow­er is used to gen­er­ate green hydro­gen at the Hei­de refin­ery by electrolysis. 

In the “Real-world lab­o­ra­to­ries 100” project team, we have a clear vision: The part­ners are focus­ing on long-term coop­er­a­tions that range from the gen­er­a­tion of green elec­tric­i­ty to the pro­duc­tion of syn­thet­ic hydro­car­bons and thus form the nucle­us for sus­tain­able busi­ness mod­els in the area of ener­gy sys­tem trans­for­ma­tion and decarbonization.

Jür­gen Wollschläger, man­ag­ing direc­tor of Raf­finer­ie Hei­de and the project’s coordinator

In the future, par­al­lel to the elec­trol­y­sis oper­a­tion, a branched hydro­gen grid will be built between the refin­ery, the munic­i­pal util­i­ties, a cav­ern sys­tem and the exist­ing nat­ur­al gas grid on the basis of a ground­break­ing pipeline tech­nol­o­gy. It is planned that a cav­ern stor­age sys­tem for hydro­gen stor­age will con­vert the avail­able wind ener­gy into a con­tin­u­ous stream of hydro­gen for indus­tri­al use.

It is also being exam­ined whether the oxy­gen also pro­duced dur­ing elec­trol­y­sis can be fed into the com­bus­tion process of a region­al cement plant with the aid of an “oxy­fu­el process”, which could also sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduce the plant’s nitro­gen oxide (NOx) emis­sions. In return, the car­bon diox­ide (CO2) pro­duced in the cement plant is to be used as a raw 

mate­r­i­al togeth­er with the green hydro­gen in the refin­ery for the pro­duc­tion of syn­thet­ic hydro­car­bons (e.g. as avi­a­tion fuel or chem­i­cal raw mate­r­i­al such as methanol).

This would be an impor­tant con­tri­bu­tion to the decar­bon­i­sa­tion of the cement indus­try. In the avi­a­tion sec­tor — the fastest-grow­ing trans­port sec­tor in Ger­many and the EU — a syn­thet­ic green fuel would rep­re­sent a fur­ther break­through in decarbonisation.

An addi­tion­al plus point: The process heat pro­duced is decou­pled in an exist­ing and fur­ther devel­oped heat grid and used, for exam­ple, in an indus­tri­al park.


Project part­ners

As a sub­sidiary of the French util­i­ty Élec­tric­ité de France (EDF), Hynam­ics Deutsch­land GmbH brings the exper­tise of the entire EDF Group to the Westküste100 con­sor­tium. The com­pa­ny devel­ops green hydro­gen solu­tions for indus­tri­al and mobil­i­ty cus­tomers in Ger­many and pro­vides green hydro­gen solu­tions from project devel­op­ment, design, invest­ment, con­struc­tion to oper­a­tion of the water elec­trol­y­sis plants. Read more …

The Fach­hochschule West­küste – Uni­ver­si­ty of Applied Sci­ences — in Hei­de in 2018 formed the Insti­tute for the Trans­for­ma­tion of the Ener­gy Sys­tem (ITE), con­cen­trat­ing its exper­tise in the ener­gy tran­si­tion in a way con­ducive to work on inter­dis­ci­pli­nary prob­lem-solv­ing in particular. 
Read more …

The Hol­cim Ger­many Group, with its 2,100 employ­ees and 150 sites, is one of the largest man­u­fac­tur­ers of build­ing mate­ri­als (cement, aggre­gates, ready-mix con­crete and pre­cast con­crete ele­ments) in Ger­many and the Nether­lands. It belongs to the lead­ing glob­al build­ing mate­ri­als com­pa­ny LafargeHolcim. Hol­cim signed up to sus­tain­able devel­op­ment many years ago, a com­mit­ment that is also part of LafargeHolcim’s glob­al group strategy.
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OGE, based in Essen, is one of Germany’s major trans­mis­sion sys­tem oper­a­tors, with a pipeline net­work some 12,000 kilo­me­tres long. Our around 1,450 employ­ees pro­vide safe, envi­ron­men­tal­ly-friend­ly and cus­tomer-focused gas trans­porta­tion through­out Germany.
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As the glob­al mar­ket leader in off­shore wind pow­er pro­duc­tion, Ørst­ed has also off­shore wind farms in Ger­many. With an installed capac­i­ty of some 1.4 gigawatts, an equiv­a­lent of 1.4 mil­lion Ger­man house­holds can be sup­plied with renew­able electricity.
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Raf­finer­ie Hei­de GmbH is Germany’s north­ern­most crude oil refin­ery. Each year the com­pa­ny process­es around 4.5 mil­lion tonnes of crude oil at its 134-hectare site. Well over 70 per­cent of the crude oil is used for fuel production.
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The Hei­de Region Devel­op­ment Agency (EARH) was formed in 2013 by Hei­de munic­i­pal admin­is­tra­tion and the 11 sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties as an insti­tu­tion under pub­lic law. Its work focus­es on imple­ment­ing the urban-rur­al plan­ning con­cept and on pro­mot­ing the region­al economy.
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Thü­ga Aktienge­sellschaft, based in Munich, is an invest­ment and con­sult­ing com­pa­ny with local roots. As a minor­i­ty share­hold­er of around 100 ener­gy and water util­i­ties, it sup­ports their entre­pre­neur­ial devel­op­ment with tech­ni­cal know-how and advice.
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As a munic­i­pal, cer­ti­fied util­i­ty com­pa­ny for elec­tric­i­ty, gas, water and heat, Stadtwerke Hei­de GmbH sup­plies around 35,000 res­i­dents, house­holds and busi­ness­es and oper­ates a gas grid with a length of some 400 km. The com­pa­ny brings togeth­er exper­tise in net­work oper­a­tion, heat gen­er­a­tion and sup­ply, stor­age and inte­gra­tion of renew­able ener­gies, end-cus­tomer billing, reg­u­la­to­ry grid usage charges and the sup­ply of liq­uid fuels and nat­ur­al gas.
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The Indus­tri­al Solu­tions busi­ness area of thyssenk­rupp is a lead­ing part­ner for the engi­neer­ing, con­struc­tion and ser­vice of indus­tri­al plants and sys­tems. Based on more than 200 years of engi­neer­ing expe­ri­ence we sup­ply tai­lored, turnkey plants and com­po­nents for cus­tomers in the chem­i­cal, fer­tilis­er, cement, min­ing and steel industries.
Read more …

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