Germany‘s northeast is finally buzzing with activity. For a long time, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania’s hydrogen community had rarely made the news. However, that was before the state’s economy ministry announced at the hydrogen sector meeting in Güstrow on Aug. 21 that it plans to build a hydrogen research center. Stefan Rudolph, who works at the economy ministry, said that Mecklenburg-West Pomerania will receive around EUR 50 million for shutting down the coal power station in Rostock because of Germany‘s exit from coal-fired energy production.
“By far the biggest chunk of the money will be used to build a hydrogen research facility,” he said, adding that “LIKAT Rostock, Fraunhofer IGP and Leibniz INP are conducting an initial study to determine the facility’s exact technological focus.”
Late August also saw the launch of the HY! Rostock initiative, while prior reports from Schwerin indicated that HIAT intends to grow its electrolyzer business. In March, HIAT’s chief executive, Tino Freiheit, founded Hydrogen Innovation to separate the company’s commercial and research activities. He told H2-international that HIAT is “operating in many markets around the world.” which means the electrolyzer stacks developed by the non-profit institute will primarily be sold abroad. He added: “We are not taxpayer-funded per se so we have to generate revenue, mainly by selling PEM electrolyzer stacks, catalyst coated membranes and similar products. Still, as a recognized R&D institute, we do receive the full amount of incentives for our research.”
A month earlier, in July, the public utility serving Schwerin announced that it will increase its share in HIAT from 18 to 25 percent. When Mecklenburg-West Pomerania’s governor, Manuela Schwesig, visited Apex Energy in Rostock-Laage in the company of German labor minister Hubertus Heil, she remarked:
“Hydrogen is of strategic importance to our business, climate and energy policies. All across Germany, people are starting to take note of the opportunities that the gas provides, opportunities that we in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania want to seize as well. […] Our goal is to keep and create well-paying jobs in clean hydrogen production to shore up Mecklenburg-West Pomerania’s economy.”