Hardly anyone had expected such a rush. 300 participants were expected. But then 600 registered, and finally 700 came to the stakeholder conference for the National Hydrogen Strategy on 5 November 2019 in Berlin. However, the great interest is not really surprising, as a total of four federal ministries sent out invitations.
The hope of the many high-ranking representatives from industry, business, research and development was correspondingly high to learn something new about the contents of the announced strategy. But although this hope was disappointed, it was a successful event with a clear commitment to hydrogen on the part of the Federal Government.
The invitation was issued by the German Energy Agency (dena) on behalf of the Federal Ministries of Economics, Transport, Research and Development (BMWi, BMVI, BMBF, BMZ) under the motto “Hydrogen and Energy Turnaround”. Apart from the Federal Minister of Education and Research, Anja Karliczek, who represented Chancellor Angela Merkel in China, the three CDU/CSU ministers attended the Westhafen Event & Convention Center. In a detailed panel discussion, all representatives made clear statements about the significance and potential of hydrogen.
Emergence of an H2 economy
Peter Altmaier, Minister of Economy and Energy, was the first to start in his slightly whimsical manner and explained: “Gas is sexy.” Hydrogen has been the “Cinderella” until now, but now you can see: “Hydrogen is super-sexy.” At the moment, there would be “a historic opportunity”, said the Minister of Economic Affairs. He said: “We want to produce hydrogen on an industrial scale. This will help to bring about an energy turnaround.” Altmaier noted in his remarks that, among other things, “consideration is being given to an own H2 infrastructure with pipelines” because hydrogen is “far too good for mixing”. At the same time, he held out the prospect “We will see the emergence of a hydrogen economy worldwide.”
His cabinet colleague for transport and digital infrastructure, Andreas Scheuer, announced in his opening speech the “next success story of the German economy” and predicted that “hydrogen made in Germany has a future”. With regard to the transport sector, he criticised: “Made in Germany needs to get better at getting cars on the road.” And he admitted: “This is a technology that may have left us a little behind. […] For me, the development times to market access are too long.”
read more in H2-international January 2020