Germany’s ambitious climate targets can only be achieved if the mobility sector and especially freight transport switch to a climate-friendly fuel. To make this switch happen, the Swiss company H2 Energy Europe AG (H2 Energy) and Essen-based Open Grid Europe GmbH (OGE) have concluded a memorandum of understanding.
Under the terms of the memorandum of understanding, the two companies have agreed to establish a hydrogen value chain ranging from the production of hydrogen to distribution/logistics and the supply of hydrogen for fuel-cell trucks. This model was tested in Switzerland and will now be transferred to Germany, using green hydrogen from Denmark, among other sources. Together with Trafigura, H2 Energy is building a one-gigawatt electrolysis plant in Esbjerg in southern Denmark, which will supply hydrogen to up to 250 refuelling stations of the 50:50 joint venture between H2Energy Europe AG and Phillips 66 by 2026. The joint venture’s planned network of hydrogen refuelling station in Germany, Austria and Denmark will consist of existing JET® filling stations as well as new sites along major traffic routes.
Hydrogen transportation by pipeline from the electrolysis plant to the region of the refuelling stations will be managed by OGE. At regional "pipeline hubs" the hydrogen will be taken from the pipeline, processed, compressed and filled into cylinders. The last mile to the individual refuelling stations will initially be bridged by truck until a local hydrogen network has been established.
OGE is ready for shipping hydrogen over long distances. Apart from operating the pipelines that can be converted from natural gas to hydrogen, Europe's leading gas transmission system operator can draw on decades of proven expertise in pipeline construction and operation. OGE is already pushing ahead with plans for a Germany-wide hydrogen infrastructure, parts of which are scheduled for commissioning as early as 2024, while a large-scale transmission system is set to be completed by the end of the 2020s.
Dr Jörg Bergmann, CEO of OGE, said: "As part of the energy transition, OGE has set itself the strategic goal of proactively shaping the transition towards decarbonised energy sources. Our goal is to provide impetus and contribute to the emerging hydrogen economy and hence to the market ramp- up and the achievement of climate protection goals. This project is part of that process. It is our joint ambition to be able to import hydrogen from Denmark, transport it and set up the pipeline hub to supply customers."
"Green gases and the associated infrastructure will play a key role in energy supply in a decarbonised world. The aim of our cooperation is to develop a continuous transportation route from the German- Danish border to the planned pipeline hubs, to identify preferred locations and to develop a technical concept for these pipeline hubs," said Rolf Huber, founder of H2 Energy.
The transport sector accounts for a large share of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU and Germany. In particular, freight transport over medium and long distances is today almost entirely reliant on diesel-powered trucks. In order to make the mobility sector more environmentally friendly, the EU and Germany have set ambitious environmental targets, for example at the European level through the "European Green Deal" and through the "RED II" directive, and at the national level through the German Climate Protection Act.