German fuel cell research lags behind

Kaufmann
Stefan Kaufmann, © BMBF/Hans-Joachim Rickel

In summer, the German government published its national hydrogen strategy, drafted with input from several federal ministries. An example of this intergovernmental collaboration was education minister Anja Karliczek’s idea for creating the post of Green Hydrogen Innovation Commissioner, to ensure that the strategy’s ambitious aims lead to swift action, her ministry said. H2-international spoke with Stefan Kaufmann, who was appointed to the post, about his new job and his concrete plans for the industry. A lawyer by trade, and a member of the Christian Democrats, he has been in parliament since 2009, representing voters in Stuttgart South.

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Green hydrogen for industry

Industrial scale greend hydrogen and decarbonization

Sandwiched between the North and Baltic seas, Schleswig-Holstein is considered to have great potential for generating clean wind energy. Boasting an installed turbine capacity of around 6.7 gigawatts onshore and 1.8 gigawatts offshore, and a nearly 37 percent renewable energy share in total final consumption (122 percent in gross electricity use), Germany’s northernmost state is well above the national average. Its 2025 aim is to have renewables contribute up to 65 percent to state-wide energy generation. And by 2050, the North Sea and its coastal areas could be home to Europe’s largest clean energy system – ideal prospects for kicking off a real hydrogen economy.

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Hydrogen-exporting countries vie for top spot

Karliczek
Anja Karliczek, © Hans-Joachim Rickel, BMBF

A key objective in Germany’s hydrogen strategy is to create international partnerships with green hydrogen exporters. To this end, Gerd Müller, the German minister for international development, recently signed a cooperation agreement with one of the Maghreb countries, announcing: “Together with Morocco, we are developing the first industrial system to generate green hydrogen in Africa.

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Green hydrogen from biogas

electricity costs
Levelized Cost of Electricity (Cent/kWh)

Hydrogen is considered the ideal raw material for a sustainable energy market transformation. However, some questions still await answers. Where will we get our hydrogen? Will we use the gray, blue, turquoise or green variant in the distant and not-so-distant future? Green hydrogen is produced using renewable energy sources and often generated via water electrolysis.

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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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Hydrogen CHP plant for Dubai

A hydrogen-powered agenitor 406 SG - a comparable model with twelve cylinders now available in Dubai
A hydrogen-powered agenitor 406 SG – a comparable model with twelve cylinders now available in Dubai, © 2G

Hydrogen-powered combustion engines seemed dead after BMW had stopped development work on H2 reciprocating piston engines years ago. This still applies to passenger cars, but not to commercial vehicles or stationary plants. In the sector of large combined heat and power plants, 2G Energy AG has long been working on making its gas engines compatible with hydrogen.

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Cost-effective and flexible

Schematic of the 100-bar PEMEL system as a container solution from the project partner iGas Energy.
Schematic of the 100-bar PEMEL system as a container solution from the project partner iGas Energy [1]

Green hydrogen, preferably produced by electrolysis, links the energy, industry and mobility sectors and is an important tool to enable the integration of renewable energies. Proton exchange membrane electrolysis (PEMEL) is considered the most promising technology due to its power density and dynamics.

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New DWV Position Paper

Chatzimarkakis
Diwald, together with representatives from industry (right: Chatzimarkakis), presenting Šefčovič (left) with the position paper

Maroš Šefčovič, vice president of the European Commission’s Energy Union, spent twenty minutes during Hannover Messe to discuss the role of green hydrogen in the energy transformation with representatives from industry. The conversation at NOW’s booth was followed by the DWV and industry representatives presenting Šefčovič with a position paper by the industry. It called on the European Commission to consider a legislative change

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