Plans are becoming more concrete in Germany’s northernmost region, where communities are rapidly taking the lead in the production of renewable hydrogen and the creation a future-proof transportation system co-designed by citizens. In March 2017, project company GP Joule, based in Reußenköge, Germany, published a feasibility study to show what this renewable system could look like (see H2-international, December 2017). Then, in early December 2018, it provided details on a project to power vehicles by renewable hydrogen.
The aim of this project, which GP Joule calls eFarm, is to offer buyers of hydrogen vehicles the opportunity to meet all of their cars’ fuel needs through locally produced renewable gas. Plans are to install electrolyzers at five sites and build two hydrogen fueling stations in Husum and Niebüll (see image). GP Joule’s André Steinau told H2-international that the company would purchase two fuel cell buses to sell them at the market price of comparable diesel models to the region’s transit company. Five fuel cell passenger cars were also part of the project, which is being supported by the federal government with EUR 8 million.
GP Joule’s chief executive, Ove Petersen, highlighted the social component of the project, for which it founded a company called eFarming. “We chose the name eFarm on purpose. We intend to provide a collaborative and sustainable way to generate revenue. We will produce, transport, process and market hydrogen in partnership with other stakeholders, just like a milk producers cooperative would. If renewable energy production is tied to consumption and if it becomes clear that society can benefit from the variety of uses and the added value, and if people can participate in the prosperity we create, then they will truly come to appreciate why we are about to transform the energy markets. Our eFarm project will allow direct participation by citizens, get stakeholders involved, and prepare them for an integrated energy system.” Project launch is scheduled for this year, while the buses are to start operating in 2020.
“Citizens welcome change if they know how, with their help, renewable energies can add value to a region.”
Ove Petersen, GP Joule