Cross cluster digital event highlights potential of hydrogen

Stakeholders in industry, logistics and aviation meet
11 May 2021

A virtual event focused Thursday (May 6)  on the real economic potential of hydrogen. Hosted by the Renewable Energies Hamburg Cluster (EEHH), Hamburg Aviation, Hamburg Cruise Net, Logistik Initiative Hamburg and the Maritime Cluster Norddeutschland, the virtual meet attracted 230 delegates, who concentrated on the cross-industry potential of hydrogen innovation projects in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. The  Hanseatic city clearly has ideal prerequisites for establishing a hydrogen sector given the interplay of various key economic sectors, the organizers agreed.

Cross-industry exchange

Michael Westhagemann, Senator for Economics and Innovation, stressed the importance of hydrogen for the EU and the German government. A "giant step" had been made since the North German Hydrogen Strategy was adopted in 2019 as evidenced by the event, he noted. 

"Twelve stakeholders in the production, distribution and use of hydrogen have joined forces in the Hydrogen Alliance Hamburg," Westhagemann pointed out. "By 2026, they will be able to reduce CO2 emissions in Hamburg by 170,000 tons annually through their application projects. At the same time, they ensure grid efficiency, meaning there are no additional grid costs for expansion."

Alternative drives for logistics industry and green hydrogen

Dirk Graszt, Managing Director of Clean Logistics, then explained how hydrogen can be used in road freight transport in future. The company is retrofitting existing lorries with hybrid drives based on hydrogen and fuel cells. The industry must approve over 200,000 zero-emission lorries by early 2030, according to Graszt. The price of hydrogen at public filling stations must become far more attractive and make it easier for companies to switch from diesel to the new technology, he added. 

During another presentation, Dr. Oliver Weinmann, Managing Director of Vattenfall Europe Innovation GmbH, explained what hydrogen production at the Moorburg power plant will look like in future and with emphasis on the Green Hydrogen Hub. The company is probing how a 100 megawatt electrolyser can be built there. Apart from Vattenfall, Shell, Mitsubishi and Wärme Hamburg are also involved in the project. Production is expected to start in Moorburg in early 2025.

Hydrogen in shipping sector 

Matthias Wiese, Director Strategy & Innovation at Siemens Energy Marine, highlighted the potential of hydrogen for the shipping sector. Different solutions are needed e.g., for ferries, cruise ships and cargo ships. The infrastructure needed in future is the main problem at present and slowing down progress in the maritime sector compared to other industries, Wiese stressed. The existing technologies provide suitable propulsion systems.

Hydrogen-powered aircraft

Hydrogen is also a top priority for Hamburg Airport, according to Jan Eike Hardegen, Deputy Head of Environment Hamburg Airport. The company is already using hydrogen-powered vehicles in its fleet. Hydrogen holds huge potential for use in aircraft especially on short and medium-haul routes.

Round table to settle basic issues

Jan Rispens, Managing Director of Renewable Energiy Hamburg Cluster, moderated a round of talks on basic issues with delegates including Katja Mau (Gasnetz Hamburg), Jörg Spitzner (Blanc Air), Elena Hof (Now GmbH) and Dr. Julian Jepsen (Helmholtz Zentrum Geesthacht - Institute for Hydrogen Technology). A round table is needed to solve basic issues e.g., on promoting, networking and importing hydrogen to set the course for a successful hydrogen strategy in future.