Green gas: A business model

Manuel Götz
Manuel Götz

Viessmann is restructuring both its fuel cell and biomethane divisions. Its newly founded holding company, Schmack BioEnergie, specializes in biogas with an increasing focus on biological methanation. As early as this year, Viessmann will start construction on the first commercial methanation unit in Switzerland.

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New NOW leader

Kurt-Christoph von Knobelsdorff
Kurt-Christoph von Knobelsdorff,
© Christina Gaudlitz, IHK Cottbus

On April 23, NOW’s supervisory board announced its new director in Berlin. Starting on May 15, Kurt-Christoph von Knobelsdorff, formerly a department head at Brandenburg’s economy and energy ministry, will lead the German national hydrogen and fuel cell organization.

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An advocate for clean hydrogen

Frans Timmermans
Frans Timmermans, © European Commission

Although the European Commission funded many hydrogen and fuel cell projects in the last several years, the industry sector was rarely mentioned in Brussels. That changed in 2019, when high-ranking German politicians started taking a second look at the technology.

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The future role of grid operators and gas suppliers

Element 1
Element 1 planning proposal, © Tennet

Hybridge and Element Eins, two German flagship power-to-gas projects, have been put on hold. Managed by transmission system operators, the projects failed to secure government approval. Stakeholders now hope regulations will relax once Germany has introduced its national hydrogen strategy. Opponents warn that such a move would distort market competition.

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German government invests in green hydrogen

National Hydrogen Strategy
National Hydrogen Strategy, © BMWi / Andreas Mertens

There it is – the national hydrogen strategy. Five federal ministries presented the cabinet-approved final concept in Berlin on June 10. Querulous months of intense cross-ministry wrangling over hydrogen colors, the targeted electrolyzer capacity and committee rosters preceded strategy publication as sector representatives prowled, yearning for news. Ultimately, the governing coalition agreed on a whopping EUR 7 billion package, plus an additional 2 billion for potential hydrogen export countries.

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Government agencies argue about who is in charge

Herdan
Herdan: “We will be forced toimport large quantities of the renewable energy we need.“

Who can make the most of hydrogen and fuel cells? This question seems to have sparked a fierce competition between several German government ministries since late 2019 as they are vying with each other for control over the debate. Their tug-of-war began spreading through the political landscape when hydrogen became an issue to campaign on early this year, prior to the Hamburg state elections. Although the Christian Democrats were the ones who actively promoted the technology for a while, public opinion seems to have shifted in favor of what the Social Democrats are planning to do with it.

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