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As an elementary component of sector coupling, hydrogen can link the electricity sector with the heat and mobility sector. This is because as the generation of electricity from renewable energies increases, the electricity grids are reaching their capacity limits. The production of hydrogen from surplus electricity through the process of electrolysis is one way of storing the energy and making it available flexibly at a later date and location.
Brandenburg is on top in the production of renewable energies throughout Germany. The capital region and Lusatia as a region of structural change offer special test fields for the production and use of hydrogen. The players in the Berlin-Brandenburg Energy Technology Cluster are very committed to promoting research and application of hydrogen technology in the capital region.
In Brandenburg and Berlin, there are already a huge number of players who are contributing their scientific expertise or testing the use of hydrogen in various areas. Here you can find a selection of research institutions, companies and intermediaries.
In recent years, several exciting projects have been launched in the capital region to test the integration of hydrogen as an energy carrier into the energy system.
For example, E.DIS's Ketzin Energy Coiled Laboratory (German Site), which is to link an existing biogas plant with a PV system, a small wind turbine, battery storage, combined heat and power plant and a power-to-gas plant for the production of green hydrogen, i.e. hydrogen produced from 100% renewable energy. E.DIS is working together with GASAG, among others, which can feed the green hydrogen produced into its existing gas network.
In the chEErs project (German Website) in Schwarzheide, green electricity from the surrounding wind and solar parks is to be used as a starting point for the chemical value chain. In addition to smart electricity network management or new automation solutions, new storage solutions are needed to ensure the security of supply of the industrial site. Power-to-gas plants can be used to store excess electricity in the form of hydrogen.
An example of the use of hydrogen for mobility is the heather train (German website) of Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn-AG, which is powered by a fuel cell and can replace conventional diesel railcars on the non-electrified line. This will enable low-emission operation of the reactivated trunk line between Berlin and the Schorfheide. At the end of 2019, it was also announced that Deutsche Eisenbahn Service AG (Desag) will also test hydrogen-powered rail traffic in Prignitz (German website).
Even though the subject of hydrogen has only recently attracted a great deal of attention again, there are players in the capital region who have been producing and using green hydrogen for a long time.
Several years ago, ENERTRAG AG and its partners built a hybrid power plant in Prenzlau, which produces green hydrogen from excess wind power by electrolysis. Two adjacent combined heat and power plants can be operated with a mixture of hydrogen and biogas.
Uniper SE has already built a plant for the production of green hydrogen from wind power in Falkenhagen in 2013. In 2018, this was extended by a methanisation plant as part of the international research project STORE&GO.
The Chair of Power Plant Technology (German Website) at the BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, in turn, has been conducting research since 2017 on the optimisation of the electrolysis process as part of a project funded by the federal government in order to make the production of green hydrogen more efficient and cheaper.
The H2BER project, which was launched in 2015, aimed to develop and test operating strategies for a hydrogen filling station at BER airport. For this purpose, green hydrogen is produced which, in addition to fuelling hydrogen vehicles, is also used to fire a combined heat and power unit (CHP), where it is converted into heat and electricity. With the planned opening of the airport at the end of 2020, this plant will gain new momentum.
At state level, the RENplus programs offers financial support for the reduction of CO2 emissions and thus also for research into and the use of hydrogen technology. The WFBB Energy Team, including the E-mobiles Brandenburg contact and coordination office (AK EMO)(German Site), is your competent partner for funding issues.
In addition to the Energy Technology Cluster, the Transport, Mobility and Logistics Cluster (VML) is also very involved in projects that test the application of hydrogen and fuel cell technology.
Information at the federal level is provided by the National Organisation Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW). The Federal Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Programme (NIP) of NOW promotes the research, development and application of hydrogen technology, among others by the HyLand hydrogen regions in Germany.
Lusatia, which is breaking new ground with the future phase-out of lignite-based electricity generation, was also recently awarded the title of HyStarter Region. At the federal level, there is also the German Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (DWV), which together with the State of Brandenburg has drawn up a Brandenburg H2 Industry Potential Study (German Version).