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    German Utilities Plan Green Hydrogen Plant


Using wind-generated power to create hydrogen, the complex will include a dedicated storage site for the gas

by: William Powell

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German Utilities Plan Green Hydrogen Plant

German utility Uniper, storage operator VNG Gasspeicher, pipeline operator Ontras Gastransport and others are planning a 35-MW electrolysis plant in southern Saxony-Anhalt to manufacture hydrogen, they said July 18.

Germany's economy minister Peter Altmaier said the project is eligible for funding and has reached the final round of the application process.

Renewable energy from a nearby wind farm will be converted into green hydrogen by electrolysis and the gas stored in a salt cavern made for this purpose. Then it will be fed into the hydrogen network of the chemical industry via a recirculated gas pipeline and used for urban transport. 

The planned underground salt cavern will be equipped specifically for the storage of up to 50mn m³ of hydrogen – an amount equivalent to about 150mn kWh. It would be the first hydrogen cavern in continental Europe and the first in the world to store green hydrogen.

Uniper COO Eckhardt Rummler said the energy transition only works if renewable energy can be stored and so far, there is still no convincing economic solution. "Our project starts precisely at this point: we combine the production of green hydrogen from wind power with the subsequent transport as well as the storage and use of hydrogen for economic purposes. If this proves itself on a large scale, we have found a central building block for a secure and sustainable energy supply. For many active wind turbines, which are soon to be phased out of direct marketing and EEG subsidies, such an investment offers attractive and sustainable future prospects. "

Between 2019 and 2022, German state funding totalling up to €100mn ($111mn)/yr is planned. For real laboratories in so-called structural change regions, which include Bad Lauchstadt, an additional €200mn will be made available.