In late May, transmission network operator Open Grid Europe (OGE) formed a joint venture with TÜV Süd and Horváth & Partners to “provide a path to a hydrogen economy.” During the startup online video call, the united front of chief executives confirmed their intention to explore new markets and bring their expert knowledge in hydrogen technology to industrial, logistics and transportation companies to allow them to draw on this valuable resource.
Similar to Apex, the newly launched venture called evety will develop and implement plans and projects in support of a hydrogen economy (see p. 28).
The e in evety represents energy, while vety is Finnish for hydrogen. The company’s main office is located in Essen, Germany, at OGE’s headquarters. Prior to becoming evety’s chief executive, Klaus Altfeld (see photo) was OGE’s head of IT strategy, having served in that role since 2012. Altfeld is currently backed by a staff of three but will take on additional employees as demand increases. Further plans include a branch office in Munich by the end of the year. The partners’ primary intention with evety is to pool their expertise, offering hydrogen solutions for a wide variety of uses. Sales will initially be limited to Germany and Europe.
Altfeld announced his task is to “create new ecosystems by merging cross-industry infrastructures.” When he was asked by H2-international what this means for the economy, he said: “Ecosystems are a good foundation for starting small before scaling up.” He explained that an ecosystem forms when several organizations unite to set up a regional project that can later be integrated into a larger whole. For example, should an ecosystem generate an abundant supply of hydrogen, the surplus could first be transferred to supply nodes. These nodes could then store, and possibly convert, the gas before transporting it to ecosystems where demand outstrips supply. Jörg Bergmann, OGE’s chief executive, added that an increasing number of natural gas pipelines will be used to deliver the renewable product in the near future, eliminating much of today’s need for road-bound transportation.
When H2-international asked, Reiner Block, the director of TÜV Süd’s Industry Service division, conceded that in the last years, his company received few requests for hydrogen solutions. Nevertheless, he noted that interest has grown in the past 12 to 24 months. He added that thanks to the living labs and the HyLand project, it now feels is as if “money were falling from the sky.” He also expects the European Green Deal to give the industry another “big boost.”
A common word in biological contexts, ecosystem often suggests something environmental, not economic. Typically, it relates to a habitat and its inhabitants and describes the relation of microorganisms, plants, fungi, animals and humans to each other (biocenosis) and their environment (biotope).