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Hydrogen | Energy of the future

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.

 

Birgit Kaminski

Contact

Birgit
Kaminski
Project Manager
T +49 331 73061-426

The generation of hydrogen from surplus electricity through the process of electrolysis is one way of storing the energy and making it available at a later date and in a flexible manner at a given location.

Brandenburg is in the top group nationwide in the production of renewable energies. 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.

Actors and initiatives

In Brandenburg and Berlin, there are already a large number of players who are contributing their scientific expertise or testing the use of hydrogen in different areas.

What is being tested?

In recent years, a number of exciting projects have been launched in the capital region to test the integration of hydrogen as an energy carrier into the energy system.

Hydrogen projects for energy storage and distribution

In E.DIS's Ketzin energy coiled laboratory, an existing biogas plant is linked to a PV system, a small wind turbine, battery storage, combined heat and power unit and a power-to-gas system for the production of green hydrogen, i.e. hydrogen produced from 100% renewable energy. E.DIS works together with GASAG, among others, which can feed the green hydrogen produced into its existing gas network.

In December 2019, the go-ahead is given for the reference power plant Lausitz. In the Schwarze Pumpe industrial park, a project consortium wants to realize a hydrogen-based storage power plant in several phases. The aim is to use renewable energies to produce green hydrogen and to develop practical processes for the conversion of electricity back into electricity. The project is being funded by the federal government as a "real laboratory for the energy turnaround".

In the HyCAVmobil project, EWE AG and its project partner, the DLR Institute of Networked Energy Systems, are testing the storage of 100% pure hydrogen in underground salt caverns at the Rüdersdorf site near Berlin - a pioneering European project. Natural gas is already being stored in other underground caverns at the site. February 2021 marks the start of construction for the test cavern, which has a capacity of 65,000 cubic meters and can hold around six tons of hydrogen. After a construction period of around one year, the first filling with hydrogen is scheduled for spring 2022.

In May 2020, six partners from the gas industry and research launched the "Membrane separation of natural gas and hydrogen Prenzlau" project. The existing gas network, in which natural gas is transported, can also be used to transport hydrogen in the future. The hydrogen is mixed with natural gas, but must be cleanly separated again for applications that cannot tolerate a gas mixture. A pilot plant in Prenzlau is testing this separation using membranes.

Hydrogen projects in mobility

An example of the use of hydrogen for mobility is the heather track of the Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn-AG, which is powered by a fuel cell and can replace conventional diesel railcars on the non-electrified track. 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.

The use of hydrogen in shipping traffic is also being tested. In the project ELEKTRA of the BEHALA and TU Berlin an emission-free boat powered by a fuel cell was developed, which is being tested in the region Berlin-Brandenburg and between Berlin and Hamburg.

What's the big deal?

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 generates 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 2013. In 2018, this was extended by a methanisation plant in Falkenhagen as part of the international research project STORE&GO.

The Chair of Power Plant Technology at the BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, in turn, has been researching since 2017 within the framework of a project funded by the federal government to optimise the electrolysis process in order to make the production of green hydrogen more efficient and cheaper.

The H2BER project, 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.

Im Juni 2021 wurde die Initiierung eines Wasserstoffclusters für Ost-Brandenburg vom Ministerium für Wirtschaft, Arbeit und Energie des Landes Brandenburg (MWAE) verkündet. Ziel ist es, die märkischen Industrie- und potenziellen Erzeugungsstandorte für grünen Wasserstoff an das zukünftige europäische Wasserstoffnetz anzuschließen und hierüber auch den weiteren Ausbau der Wasserstoffinfrastruktur in Richtung Osteuropa voranzutreiben. Das MWAE und die Wirtschaftsförderung Land Brandenburg GmbH (WFBB) koordinieren dieses Vorhaben. Mitarbeitende Unternehmen sind ArcelorMittal, BASF, CEMEX, ENERTRAG, EWE, LEAG, PCK und ONTRAS.

Contact persons in the capital region

For further information, we have compiled an overview of contact persons in the capital region and beyond.

  • Cluster Energy Technology | we are happy to assist you in the search for project partners in Berlin and Brandenburg and with project ideas, e.g. for the production and distribution of hydrogen. On our website you will also find information on funding and financing opportunities, e.g. the RENplus programme
     
  • Cluster Transport, Mobility and Logistics | involved in projects testing the application of hydrogen and fuel cell technology in the transport and logistics sector
     
  • WFBB Energy included contact and coordination office E-mobiles Brandenburg (AK EMO) | Energy Agency, advice on subsidies and project support in Brandenburg
     
  • Berlin Energy Agency and Berlin Agency for Electric Mobility | Energy Agency, subsidy consulting and project support in Berlin
  • dena (German Energy Agency) | dena is the nationwide competence centre for energy efficiency, renewable energies and intelligent energy systems. Heads the Power-to-Gas strategy platform since 2011
     
  • National Organization Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW) | promotes the research, development and application of hydrogen technology through the Federal Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Funding Program (NIP), including the HyLand hydrogen regions in Germany
     
  • H2Mobility | planner and operator of hydrogen filling stations in Germany. Also provides an overview of the current infrastructure
     
  • National Control Centre Charging Infrastructure | located at NOW, commissioned with the planning of the nationwide infrastructure of charging points, natural gas and hydrogen filling stations. Offers a planning instrument with the location tool
     
  • German Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (DWV) | Information and representation of interests. Together with the state of Brandenburg, has developed a study of potential for 2019
     
  • Deutsche Verein des Gas- und Wasserfaches e.V. | offers, among other things, clear information material on hydrogen and sector coupling. For example a map of P2G projects in Germany
  • European Clean Hydrogen Alliance | brings together industry, national and local authorities, civil society and other stakeholders. The Alliance is open to all public and private stakeholders with renewable or low-carbon hydrogen activities who are willing to actively contribute to the goals stated in the Alliance's declaration. For guidance on funding programs for hydrogen projects, the EU's official Hydrogen Public Funding Compass is a good place to start

Studies and publications

Here you will find a compilation of studies and publications that deal with the topic of hydrogen at state or federal level:

  • Key Issues Paper of the East German Coal States on the Development of a Regional Hydrogen Economy | joint publication of the states of Brandenburg, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt (Publication: June 2020)
     
  • Hydrogen economy in Lusatia | Perspectives and potentials of a cross-sectoral hydrogen economy in the economic region of Lusatia (Publication: March 2020)
     
  • H2 Industry Potential Study Brandenburg | Study to identify and analyse the opportunities and potentials for hydrogen use and the establishment of a hydrogen industry in the State of Brandenburg, especially with regard to energy and industrial policy aspects (Publication: July 2019)
     
  • National Hydrogen Strategy | official strategy of the Federal Government with the participation of many ministries as a framework for action for the future production, transport, use and further use of hydrogen and thus for corresponding innovations and investments (Publication: June 2020)
     
  • EU hydrogen strategyThe European Union also sees the potential for future cross-sector decarbonisation in (green) hydrogen. It is looking at how this potential can be exploited through investment, regulation, market creation and research and innovation (Publication: July 2020)

Funding and financing

Funding programs and competitions are being initiated with increasing frequency by the EU, the federal government or the states to facilitate and stimulate investment in hydrogen technology. Current calls for proposals can always be found under News on the cluster homepage. Long-term programs and general tips can be found on the Funding & Financing subpage.