(Hemmingstedt/Berlin, 3 August 2020) First real-world lab­o­ra­to­ry of the ener­gy tran­si­tion to focus on cross-sec­tor cou­pling and hydro­gen tech­nolo­gies gets under way

Today the con­sor­tium behind the WESTKÜSTE100 project received the go-ahead and fund­ing approval from the Fed­er­al Min­istry of Eco­nom­ic Affairs and Ener­gy that will make it Germany’s first hydro­gen project includ­ed in the “real-world lab­o­ra­to­ries fos­ter­ing the ener­gy tran­si­tion” pro­gramme. The project is backed by an invest­ment vol­ume totalling 89 mil­lion euros. The fund­ing vol­ume approved for the project’s launch on 1 August 2020 amounts to 30 mil­lion euros. As a result, the real-world lab­o­ra­to­ry project has tak­en a sig­nif­i­cant step for­ward towards its goal of pro­gres­sive­ly estab­lish­ing a region­al hydro­gen econ­o­my on an indus­tri­al scale. The con­sor­tium brings togeth­er a total of ten part­ners: EDF Deutsch­land, Hol­cim Deutsch­land, OGE, Ørst­ed Deutsch­land, Raf­finer­ie Hei­de, Heide’s munic­i­pal util­i­ty, Thü­ga, and thyssenk­rupp Indus­tri­al Solu­tions, along with the Region Hei­de devel­op­ment agency and the West­küste Uni­ver­si­ty of Applied Sci­ences. They plan to pro­duce green hydro­gen, trans­port it in the gas net­work, use it in indus­tri­al process­es and to inter­link dif­fer­ent mate­r­i­al cycles with­in the exist­ing infra­struc­ture. This will allow the decar­bon­i­sa­tion of indus­try, mobil­i­ty and the heat­ing mar­ket to be test­ed under real con­di­tions – with the over­rid­ing objec­tive of cli­mate protection. 

An elec­trol­y­sis plant with a capac­i­ty of 700 MW – this is our vision and the next mile­stone in imple­ment­ing the devel­op­ment tar­gets laid down in the nation­al hydro­gen strat­e­gy by 2030,” says Jür­gen Wollschläger, man­ag­ing direc­tor of Raf­finer­ie Hei­de and coor­di­na­tor of the WESTKÜSTE100 project. “Start­ing from today, the WESTKÜSTE100 part­ners will be work­ing togeth­er to cre­ate this green future and build an eco­log­i­cal­ly and eco­nom­i­cal­ly sus­tain­able busi­ness mod­el. We see the ener­gy tran­si­tion as a cross-sec­toral endeav­our. With indus­try, sci­ence and politi­cians all pulling togeth­er, our 700 MW vision will become reality.”

Schleswig-Holstein’s state pres­i­dent Daniel Gün­ther also wel­comed the deci­sion: “I am delight­ed that the WESTKÜSTE100 real-world lab­o­ra­to­ry is the first hydro­gen project among the win­ners select­ed in last year’s nation­al ideas com­pe­ti­tion to receive fund­ing approval,” he stat­ed. He said the project showed how inno­v­a­tive Schleswig-Holstein’s efforts were to dri­ve for­ward the ener­gy tran­si­tion and how econ­o­my and ecol­o­gy could be com­bined to opti­mum effect. “We are one of Germany’s lead­ing fed­er­al state when it comes to gen­er­at­ing elec­tric­i­ty from renew­ables. But we also want to make more use of the renew­able elec­tric­i­ty and there­by help gen­er­ate added val­ue in our own region. This will allow the ener­gy tran­si­tion to be accom­plished in oth­er areas, such as heat­ing, mobil­i­ty and indus­try,” Gün­ther added. The WESTKÜSTE100 real-world lab­o­ra­to­ry was a mod­el exam­ple that could stim­u­late fur­ther inno­va­tions around hydro­gen as a future tech­nol­o­gy, he said.

Launch of the ini­tial project phase – the elec­trol­y­sis plant

The fund­ing approval enables work to begin on the first phase of the project, which is set to run for five years. A new­ly formed joint ven­ture, H2 West­küste GmbH, com­pris­ing EDF Deutsch­land, Ørst­ed and Raf­finer­ie Hei­de, is to build a 30 megawatt elec­trol­yser which will pro­duce green hydro­gen from off­shore wind ener­gy and pro­vide infor­ma­tion on the oper­a­tion, main­te­nance, con­trol and grid com­pat­i­bil­i­ty of the equipment.

Accord­ing to refin­ery man­ag­ing direc­tor Jür­gen Wollschläger, “With the adop­tion of the nation­al hydro­gen strat­e­gy at the begin­ning of June 2020, green hydro­gen has become the key ele­ment in Germany’s ener­gy tran­si­tion. For us at Raf­finer­ie Hei­de, the fund­ing approval received today fires the gun to go all out in cre­at­ing a new, green busi­ness mod­el around the man­u­fac­ture and exploita­tion of green hydro­gen for the future. In build­ing and com­mis­sion­ing an indus­tri­al-scale elec­trol­y­sis plant on our site we will become an active part of the indus­try of tomorrow.”

Jean-Marc Bazenet, man­ag­ing direc­tor of EDF Deutsch­land GmbH, and Chris­telle Rouil­lé, CEO of Hynam­ics stat­ed, “The EDF Group wel­comes the deci­sion to grant Fed­er­al Min­istry of Eco­nom­ic Affairs fund­ing, which will facil­i­tate and accel­er­ate the con­struc­tion of fur­ther large elec­trol­y­sis plants. This marks an ini­tial, deci­sive step in Ger­many tak­en by the EDF Group and its sub­sidiary Hynam­ics, which spe­cialis­es in decar­bonised hydro­gen pro­duc­tion. This project forms part of the hydro­gen strat­e­gy of the EDF Group over­seen by Hynam­ics which is tar­get­ed at decar­bon­is­ing the mobil­i­ty and indus­tri­al sec­tors. We are very proud to be active­ly involved in imple­ment­ing the fed­er­al government’s hydro­gen strat­e­gy and thus con­tribut­ing to its ener­gy transition”.

Volk­er Mal­men, man­ag­ing direc­tor of Ørst­ed in Ger­many stat­ed, “We are delight­ed by the pos­i­tive deci­sion. This project is unique in its use of off­shore wind ener­gy for large-scale hydro­gen pro­duc­tion. No oth­er renew­able ener­gy source can pro­vide such reli­ably large quan­ti­ties of green elec­tric­i­ty for elec­trol­y­sis. For this rea­son, the expan­sion of renew­ables and off­shore wind pow­er in par­tic­u­lar must be aligned with the increased demand asso­ci­at­ed with hydro­gen pro­duc­tion. We see here an ide­al oppor­tu­ni­ty for the fur­ther decar­bon­i­sa­tion of Ger­man indus­try, and green hydro­gen holds the key to sec­toral decar­bon­i­sa­tion. The WESTKÜSTE100 project is a key ele­ment for us in play­ing a pio­neer­ing role in green hydro­gen as we do in off­shore wind ener­gy, in order to cre­ate a world that places its faith entire­ly on green energy.”

Unique inter­link­ing of mate­r­i­al cycles – infeed into gas grid, sus­tain­able cement production

What is spe­cial and inno­v­a­tive about the WESTKÜSTE100 project is the link­ing of dif­fer­ent sec­tors with­in an exist­ing region­al infra­struc­ture. This also includes the inte­gra­tion of green hydro­gen in the exist­ing process at Raf­finer­ie Hei­de in a move intend­ed to replace the use of grey hydro­gen. In addi­tion, part of the gen­er­at­ed hydro­gen will be trans­port­ed via a new­ly built hydro­gen pipeline to Heide’s munic­i­pal util­i­ty for trans­fer to the nat­ur­al gas grid. In a future stage, there are plans to sup­ply a hydro­gen fill­ing sta­tion. All the mile­stones that are devised dur­ing the WESTKÜSTE100 project form the basis for the next, scal­ing stages. The vision for all part­ners is to build a 700 MW elec­trol­y­sis plant, with the future prospect of mak­ing use of the waste heat and oxy­gen aris­ing dur­ing the elec­trol­y­sis process. Fur­ther plans include the pro­duc­tion of cli­mate-friend­ly avi­a­tion fuels and large-scale sup­ply to gas grids.

Dr. Jörg Bergmann, CEO of Open Grid Europe GmbH stat­ed, “The fund­ing approval has brought us sig­nif­i­cant­ly clos­er to our project goal of car­ry­ing pure hydro­gen in a pipeline form­ing part of the gas sup­ply net­work. Our task now is to realise this unique ener­gy tran­si­tion project as quick­ly as pos­si­ble. To do this we will need to clear the admin­is­tra­tive and reg­u­la­to­ry hur­dles so that we and the oth­er project part­ners can take the final invest­ment deci­sion for the start of con­struc­tion next year.”

Michael Riechel, chair­man of the exec­u­tive board of Thü­ga Aktienge­sellschaft stat­ed, “Our long-term tar­get is an H2 quo­ta in the gas grid of up to 100 per­cent by 2050. In the test run with a hydro­gen addi­tion of up to 20 per­cent in a sec­tion of the net­work com­pris­ing more than 200 domes­tic cus­tomers, Thü­ga and Hei­de munic­i­pal util­i­ty are set­ting a con­crete prece­dent, the results of which will ben­e­fit the just under 100 munic­i­pal sup­ply com­pa­nies belong­ing to the Thü­ga Group on their way to cre­at­ing decar­bonised gas grids”.

In the future man­u­fac­ture of fuel, hydro­gen from elec­trol­y­sis and unavoid­able CO2 from a region­al cement plant in Schleswig-Hol­stein will be used in the process. Dur­ing the ini­tial phase of the WESTKÜSTE100 project prepa­ra­tions will be made for con­vert­ing the Läger­dorf cement plant to a more envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly (oxy­fu­el) com­bus­tion process. Thorsten Hahn, CEO and chair­man of Hol­cim (Deutsch­land) GmbH stat­ed, “For us, as a man­u­fac­tur­er of build­ing mate­ri­als, the fund­ing approval is a key mile­stone on the way to decar­bon­is­ing cement pro­duc­tion. Now all of us involved in WESTKÜSTE100 must move for­ward quick­ly, deci­sive­ly and dynam­i­cal­ly in order to achieve our ulti­mate goal of cross-sec­toral cou­pling on a large indus­tri­al scale in the com­ing years.”

We are delight­ed to con­tribute our exper­tise in the man­u­fac­ture of green hydro­gen by elec­trol­y­sis and in the exploita­tion of CO2 as a raw mate­r­i­al for green methanol to this out­stand­ing project. This will help fur­ther rein­force the lead­ing role of Ger­man indus­try in hydro­gen tech­nolo­gies,” stat­ed Sami Pelko­nen, CEO Chem­i­cal & Process Tech­nolo­gies at thyssenkrupp.

Prof. Dr. Kat­ja Kuhn, pres­i­dent of West­küste Uni­ver­si­ty of Applied Sci­ences, stat­ed, “I am very proud of our involve­ment in this real-world lab­o­ra­to­ry as a uni­ver­si­ty part­ner. We will be respon­si­ble for tech­ni­cal, legal and social aspects and will nur­ture close con­tact to our uni­ver­si­ty net­works through our Campus100 project. We are par­tic­u­lar­ly delight­ed that our stu­dents will have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to take part in research asso­ci­at­ed with such an impor­tant ener­gy tran­si­tion project.”

Dirk Burmeis­ter, chief exec­u­tive of the Region Hei­de devel­op­ment agency, stat­ed: “The Hei­de region, with its ENTREE 100 ini­tia­tive encom­pass­ing projects relat­ing to the ener­gy tran­si­tion, is emerg­ing as a hot spot of the green hydro­gen econ­o­my in Ger­many and Europe. The ear­ly strate­gic ori­en­ta­tion of an entire region is now pay­ing off.”

In the next stage of the project, scal­ing of the elec­trol­y­sis plant in the order of 700 MW is planned, for which the elec­tric­i­ty will be gen­er­at­ed by an off­shore wind farm. The project work con­duct­ed as part of WESTKÜSTE100 will lay the foun­da­tion for this and cre­ate the nec­es­sary know-how.

For more infor­ma­tion please vis­it www.westkueste100.de/en/.    

For press inquiries:      
Christoph Lapczy­na | PLÜCOM
Tel. +49 40 790 21 89 90,
Email: cl@pluecom.de

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