In September 2021, Andreas Scheuer, the then German transportation minister, announced the chosen locations for the four planned ITZ technology and innovation centers for hydrogen technology (see H2-international, May and August 2021). One and a half years on and the competition winners are still waiting for permission to get started. The high degree of eagerness and motivation in Chemnitz, Duisburg, Pfeffenhausen and the Hamburg-Stade region has now turned to frustration, since government funding has yet to materialize.
Manfred Poschenrieder from Hynergy told H2-international: “It hasn’t been held up in the municipalities or in the consortium. The mayors are on board. The residents are on board and are already asking where they can apply as the region lost a large supply company in 2020.” But there can be no handshakes until official approval is given, otherwise the promised funding will be forfeited.
When H2-international questioned the German transportation ministry BMDV, a spokesperson responded: “The follow-through of the hydrogen innovation and technology center (ITZ) is not in doubt; indeed the BMDV is in regular contact with the site representatives. The discussion particularly revolves around the details of the site designs and their adjustment to fit funding conditions. The necessary budgetary resources for the ITZ are already allocated in the 2023 government budget. The BMDV is working closely and collaboratively with the relevant site representatives. The aim is for approvals to be given for the ITZ within the current year 2023.”
The ministry continued: “The feasibility study for the ITZ was concluded in May 2022 and provides a rough draft for the planned center. Since then, the BMDV and the sites have been working on substantiating the concept. Furthermore, initial coordination meetings about the planned construction work were held last year. On the subject of funding conditions and legal issues concerning grants, the BMDV is in discussion with the EU Commission. The corresponding draft proposals have also been developed further by the sites.”