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Stracke other H2Now managing director

Stracke other H2Now managing director

BMV Energy GmbH is entering the market as another player in hydrogen refueling stations. The owner-managed, medium-sized company together with Score founded H2Now GmbH in August 2023 and appointed Stefan Schwarzer as managing director to advance the establishment of refueling stations with green hydrogen, particularly for commercial vehicles. In November 2023, the Berlin-based company announced that the company will be co-represented with second managing director Andrew Stracke in April 2024. Stracke was prior to this a member of the executive board at Westfalen AG.

H2Now was brought to life jointly by the petroleum company BMV and Score, a gas station operator with headquarters in Emden, to bundle the synergies of the medium-sized companies. To the BMV corporation belongs a gas station network with 145 stations of the brands Sprint and Go. According to the management, there are “already established locations suitable for the addition of a hydrogen refueling station with the help of H2NOW, to become part of the Germany-wide hydrogen station network and be supported with extensive know-how in project planning, funding, realization and operation.”

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Starting points for a comprehensive hydrogen ramp-up

Starting points for a comprehensive hydrogen ramp-up

Industry congress GAT 2023 in Cologne

To establish a functioning hydrogen economy, the entire value chain must be addressed. It is important to keep in view the market and regulatory aspects as well as the technical aspects (standardization). At the event GAT 2023 in September in Cologne, it could be seen how intensively the industry is working on the implementation. Exciting here are, among other things, the conversion plans of the gas grid operators towards climate-neutral gases. The second phase of the GTP also shows the great interest on the part of municipalities and the industrial sector.

Dr. Kirsten Westphal made clear how the German association for energy and water economy (Bundesverband der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft, BDEW) see the heating market of the future: “Instead of natural gas, in the future especially hydrogen and its derivatives will be employed,” said the member of top management at the event in Cologne. The hydrogen will come from domestic production as well as a considerable portion from imports. The BDEW is not worried that it will come to a deficit situation. “The studies show that sufficient quantities of hydrogen will be able to be made available,” stated Westphal.

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However, the ramp-up of hydrogen production requires the right framework conditions. Regarding this, the BDEW representative counts in addition to the acceleration and strengthening of the expansion of renewable energies in Germany also the quick notification of IPCEI projects (Important Projects of Common European Interest) for hydrogen production by the EU, which will then actually occur at the end of the year (see p. 20), as well as other supplementary funding programs to reach the electrolysis capacity target of 10 GW in year 2030.

On the import side, Westphal is calling on politicians to present an import strategy in the short term. Furthermore, the financing of import projects should also be flanked by measures such as Hermes cover (export credit guarantees) or capital subsidies.

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Establishment of a functioning H2 trading market

One aspect of particular importance, however, is to embed the ramp-up of hydrogen production in the development of a market. In each of the various phases in this, different political instruments are needed: to begin, more steering and support; later, a growing market and less support. The visualized goal is a functioning trading market in which hydrogen volumes are efficiently distributed according to market-based mechanisms.

But what characterizes the image of the targeted steady-state hydrogen market? In Cologne, the BDEW expert named a whole bundle of criteria:

  • Production and trade of hydrogen and its derivatives in Germany, the EU and globally in sufficient quantities
  • The combination of long-term contracts (particularly at import level) with competitive prices that reflect current market conditions as well as increasing spot deliveries
  • The trading of guarantees of origin, certificates and commodities on a uniform, standardized European market that includes an international connection
  • Competition for access to end customers as well as transparent price signals and sufficient market liquidity on the supplier side
  • A fully functional and comprehensive network infrastructure. Non-discriminatory grid access for all competitive players on the hydrogen market. H2 grid access is essentially based on the entry-exit system.
  • Climate-neutral hydrogen is used wherever there is demand. Demand is based on the market price.
  • Storage options ensure security of supply for hydrogen and derivatives and open up various ways to make the hydrogen market flexible. There is decentralized generation and purchase as well as central storage.

In all these projects are, according to Westphal, a transparent and reliable standardization as well as certification needed, to also create acceptance for hydrogen and its derivatives, which also needs a stable regulatory framework.

Standardization of particular importance

The establishing of standards is also the means of choice from the view of Dr. Thomas Gößmann. According to the Thyssengas chairman, it should be borne in mind that the approval offices have had little contact with the topic of hydrogen until now and therefore have no experience in most cases.

For Germany as an export country, the agreement on international standards is of particular importance, stated Oda Keppler, ministerial director at the German ministry for education and research (BMBF), at GAT. This applies, among other things, for the quality criteria for the product hydrogen, as otherwise the international trading of it could not be done.

For the success of the hydrogen economy, it is crucial, according to Gößmann, to involve the people. “If the country of engineers succeeds in taking the people with it, then we will also succeed,” the Thyssengas chairman is certain. It is also important not to focus too much on the color principle of the hydrogen. This is hardly comprehensible for many people anyway. “We are colorblind. We’re setting up the highway. It doesn’t matter to us who drives on it,” said the grid operator.

Dr. Frank Reiners is certain that the hydrogen economy will only really take off when the entire value chain is populated. According to the member of the management board of Open Grid Europe, however, pipeline construction is of particular importance. Germany as a hub has a special role and responsibility here, as many gas pipelines come on land or come together here. “We cannot afford to do nothing,” stated Reiners in Cologne.


Prof. Gerald Linke, chairman of the DVGW, said at the opening of the industry event GAT in Cologne, “The backbone network must provide all regions in Germany with access to climate-neutral hydrogen.”

H2 core network for all regions

The German association for gas and water standards (Deutscher Verein des Gas- und Wasserfaches, DVGW) welcomes the federal government’s initiative, in an amendment to the energy industry act (Energiewirtschaftsgesetz), to establish a legal framework for the rapid approval and construction of a hydrogen core network. However, to the DVGW, this approach does not go far enough. “The backbone network must provide all regions in Germany with access to climate-neutral hydrogen, as otherwise an exiting of entire economy sectors is imminent, especially the small and medium enterprises,” said the DVGW chairman Prof. Gerald Linke at the industry event.

In a second step, transformation regulation for gas distribution grids is therefore also needed. Without an extensive conversion of the existing gas distribution infrastructure, it will not be possible to transform the connections of 1.8 million industrial and commercial customers toward climate neutrality, stressed Linke.

The basis for the transport to end customers has been laid out in the so-termed Gasnetzgebietstransformationsplan (gas grid area transformation plan, GTP) by the DVGW together with the initiative H2vorOrt. In the current second planning year, 241 gas distribution system operators have participated, a significant increase compared to the 180 companies in the previous year. Currently, the GTP covers pipelines with a total length of 415,000 km (258,000 mi) and reaches 381 of the total 401 regional districts of Germany.

The planning process with the GTP is deliberately designed to be open-ended and includes the conversion, decommissioning and partial new construction of pipelines. Considered are all new, climate-neutral gases, so in addition to hydrogen also for example biomethane. The aim of the GTP is to accelerate the transformation at the distribution grid level and, by the individual planning of the grid operators in coordination with the other stages of the supply chain, to create a coherent vision for the whole of Germany. As part of the GTP planning, the grid operators are analyzing on the basis of their specific situations on site the demands of their customers, the decentralized feed-in situation, the development of hydrogen availability by upstream network operators and the technical suitability of their networks for hydrogen.


For the first time in Germany, the conversion of a long-distance gas pipeline to transport hydrogen has begun at OGE Verdichterstation Emsbüren

Municipalities and industry are planning with hydrogen

Part of the GTP is also a survey of end customers by the respective network operators. This revealed a clear preference for the use of climate-neutral gases. Only five percent of the nearly 1,000 surveyed municipalities see no need in the long term for the use of climate-neutral gases. Of the nearly 2,000 major industrial customers who responded, more than three quarters are relying on hydrogen in the future. And 29 percent already see the use of hydrogen as an option by 2030, while a further 30 percent expect this in the coming decade.

Some current projects show that these visions are already currently being implemented. For example, mid-October at Verdichterstation Emsbüren, a compressor station of grid operator OGE in Niedersachsen, was the start of the conversion of the first long-distance pipeline to transport hydrogen (see Fig. 3). As part of the project GET H2 Nukleus, this is to establish the core for a nationwide hydrogen infrastructure. With the changeover, the participating network operators want to enable customers from industry and SMEs to connect to the hydrogen supply.

Most of the municipalities surveyed, according to the DVGW poll, are counting on climate-neutral gases in the long term

Another project started at the beginning of November in Energiepark Bad Lauchstädt with the start of the second phase of the conversion of a natural gas pipeline for the transport of hydrogen. For the technically seamless operation of the grid of the future of transmission system operator Ontras Gastransport, a pig launcher was placed in position. The following months will be preparation for putting into operation the hydrogen pipeline. For this, the construction of a transfer station as well as setting up a system for purifying and drying the gas are necessary. Once Energiepark Bad Lauchstädt is fully operational in year 2025, test transfers of hydrogen will follow, scientifically accompanied by DBI-GTI (DBI Gastechnologisches Institut gGmbH Freiberg), an independent laboratory of the DVGW.

Such projects help to increasingly address the locational advantages of the continent. At GAT in Cologne, Prof. Thomas Thiemann of Siemens Energy summed up the situation as follows: “With its large pipeline network and storage facilities, Europe has a huge asset compared to other areas. We must exploit this advantage.”


Out of the surveyed industrial customers, 76 percent are interested in hydrogen

Study: Green hydrogen not more expensive than gas in the long term

End customer prices for green hydrogen in the medium and long term could be in the range of natural gas or the current subsidization threshold of natural gas of 12 euro-cents per kWh (Gaspreisbremse). That is what the study by Frontier Economics on behalf of the DVGW determined. If total costs are compared – so costs for acquisition, building renovation and operation, – then the cost for both single-family and multi-family houses with a gas boiler powered by hydrogen, depending on building type and efficiency class, lie at a similar level to an electrically run heat pump. In the study, the total costs of various energy carriers for households as well as for exemplary heat supply solutions were compared with each other.

For the cost comparison, indicative end customer prices based on production costs were used. In addition to the prices for gaseous energy sources, the DVGW study also compares the total costs that households may incur depending on the heat supply solution. Because if the goal is to meet the climate targets, heat generation for buildings in Germany must be fundamentally changed, according to the DVGW.

The aim of the investigation is, on the one hand, to put the end customer prices of green hydrogen in relation to alternative energy sources for households in the years 2035 and 2045. On the other hand, the analysis focuses on the total costs of different heat supply solutions for two selected building types in the efficiency classes B and D. Considered are green gas boilers based on biomethane and climate-neutral hydrogen as well as heat pumps.

Overall, the comparison shows that the cost ratios of the energy sources change over the period under review. While end customer prices for climate-neutral hydrogen in Germany are expected to remain above those for natural gas and biomethane until 2035, they could reach a comparable level by 2045.

Households in Germany would therefore have to pay between 12 and 17 euro-cents per kWh for hydrogen in 2035. The price of natural gas, on the other hand, taking rising CO2 prices into account, would be between 9 and 11 euro-cents per kWh, and that for biomethane just above, at around 10 to 13 euro-cents per kWh, depending on the biomass used in its production.

After 2035, end customer prices for hydrogen could fall and approach those of natural gas. The main drivers for this include the degression of costs for H2 production and rising CO2 prices in the context of emissions trading. In year 2045, according to the study, purchase prices for hydrogen could then lower to around 11 to 15 euro-cents per kWh.

Author: Michael Nallinger

Nikola Motors: Capital increase at the right time

Nikola Motors: Capital increase at the right time

Short sellers are working massively against the company at the stock exchange. There were shortly even nearly 200 million shares sold short (on Nov. 16 still 193 million). But now, a price change upwards seems very likely. The reason could lie in the comments made at the press conference on the third quarter results, which Nikola – in my words – sees as being on the right track. The company amassed about 250 million USD in liquidity in the third quarter, and now has available 705 million USD in capital access.

The damage due to recalled battery-electric trucks was reported as 61.8 million USD (warranty reserve), where Nikola not only resolved this problem, but employed batteries from a still unnamed supplier that possessed advantages over the previous model, was the comment from the company. Additionally, the truck will be equipped with more features that will give the driver more options during use, for example from a distance using a smartphone app, the truck could be already prepared with heating in the winter and air conditioning in the summer, before the driver gets in. The battery-electric truck will, after the retrofitting in the first quarter, again find its way to customers.

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Now orders can come

There are 277 letters of intent for the purchase of the hydrogen-powered truck. In the fourth quarter, 30 to 50 of them are to be delivered and between 11 and 19 million USD turnover generated. With the battery-electric truck, meanwhile – despite the recall – an individual order of 47 units will be gained. In the next two years, Nikola is determined to deliver on average 250 to 300 trucks of both types per quarter.

The cash burn is at 100 million USD in the quarter, where for the current quarter, the financial effects of the recall on the battery-electric truck are still to be felt (61.8 million USD, of which about 38 million USD is capital that will be used). And the better the scaling of the truck production goes, the more cost-effective they can be manufactured, in order to at the end of the day come out with a good profit margin. Consider this: Money is the future will be earned especially with electricity and hydrogen and not with e-trucks per se. Nikola is at the start of its (success) story.

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California setting the pace

Nikola is concentrating, for good reason, on the US state California. Firstly, the best subsidies (up to around 408,000 USD per truck) are there; secondly, the time pressure for shippers to replace diesel-powered by CO2-free trucks is very high. Already starting 2024, in California only the last-mentioned will be allowed at port facilities, so there will be new registrations only for battery-electric or hydrogen trucks. We’re talking about over 30,000 trucks alone in this market segment – a winning pass for Nikola Motors, since in the Inflation Reduction Act are provided also 2.6 billion USD in subsidies specially for port facilities and also drayage trucks as well as for the H2 infrastructure.

Additionally, the competition for Nikola in this truck segment will be sparse for years to come. The look at the already approved vouchers for e-trucks is cause to celebrate: 96 percent of the vouchers of the California’s HVIP program for hydrogen-powered trucks and 50 percent of the vouchers for battery-electric trucks are attributable to Nikola. After all, Nikola is to have received approval of already over 400 vouchers for the two truck variants. A respectable success.

Lawsuit against Milton won

The lengthy legal dispute with company founder Trevor Milton was won. On October 20 came the decision. Milton must now pay 165 million USD to Nikola, which includes procedural costs Nikola first had to pay and now receives back. It should be noted here that there is still no indication of when the money will flow. Nikola still has to pay a portion to the SEC itself, as they reached a settlement of 125 million USD and must itself fulfill it. If 165 million USD flows from Milton soon, Nikola’s liquidity will rise, as the SEC payments will be divided over the next years.

Goals ambitious but realistic

Currently, Nikola can produce 2,400 trucks of either variant per year. In order to be profitable, sales of 1,000 trucks in 2024 and 1,500 in 2025 are needed. These targets are considered realistic from the company’s perspective, if Nikola delivers 250 to 300 truck per quarter. In my view, there will also be some large orders. Beyond this, declarations like the letter of intent (LoI) with Anheuser-Busch (800 trucks) will also flow into the orders on hand, is my expectation.

Nikola Motors – The Tesla of trucks?

For this hypothesis, I earned a lot of criticism. One cannot compare a startup like Nikola, though, with the success story of Tesla. One can say: Tesla started small, then came Elon Musk. The company reported heavy losses for many years and was even on the verge of bankruptcy before the breakthrough came. In the first three years, Tesla earned money, but not with the e-cars but with  emission rights that could be sold to other car manufacturers. Tesla solved the chicken-and-egg problem by providing the electricity for the battery-electric vehicles itself by establishing a charging network made of its own Supercharger stations. Who would have bought a car from Tesla if there had been no charging option – as a package, even free of charge for years?

Nikola is doing the same – only for trucks with the help of electric charging stations and H2 refueling stations. Nikola wants to earn money with electricity and the self-produced or purchased hydrogen. In the USA are waving high subsidies of three USD per kg. Tesla continues to address the market for e-cars, but Nikola the segment for trucks. Both companies can be considered disruptive – they change markets and business models. Both are first movers.

Tesla and its CEO was met with much skepticism, but they proved that change is possible. Nikola is doing the same – only for commercial vehicles. Whether both can be compared with regard to the development of their valuation or share prices time will tell. For Nikola I am extremely optimistic.

Chief financial officer leaves the company

Stasy Pasterick was just six months in office as CFO. She is going over to Universal Hydrogen in the same capacity. It will be interesting to see who her successor will be.

Capital increase secures the company

On December 6, 2023, Nikola’s plan to raise fresh capital on the stock market became known. It entails a convertible bond of a nominal 175 million USD with 8.25-percent coupon (green bonds) with maturity December 2026 (0.90 USD conversion price per share) and 100 million USD in new shares at 0.75 USD per share. The share price fell from around 1 USD probably because – no guarantee – a hedging took place, so the price was depressed, as one can retain and stock up on the share after the capital raise. The share also fell because short sellers wanted to use the capital increase as a negative for themselves.

In accordance with experience, this measure will have already been successfully implemented by the time you read these lines. With it, Nikola is then thoroughly financed and will ultimately have 500 million USD in the bank. That the share price is rising above 1 USD again is also in the nature of things, because the financiers (investment banks such as Nomura) will most likely not accept a delisting of the share (it will come to this if the price sinks below 1 USD for a longer time).

Summary: Nikola is well on the way to positioning itself as a first mover in CO2-free trucks in the USA – first in California, later across the whole country and in parallel in Canada, where likewise large subsidy sums up to 380,000 CAD per truck are waving. Comprehensive funding programs are acting as a turbo, as the buyers of the trucks can comply with the regulatory pressure and are financially incentivized as well. The H2 infrastructure is being established by the company itself, but will be financially accompanied by business partners such as Voltera (EQT) and is receiving a boost by a 7-billion-USD program of the Biden administration, in which seven hydrogen hubs are to be established in the USA. The stock market will not be able to avoid newly valuing Nikola as a startup: In the right market at the right time. Maybe Nikola will even be the H2 share that develops the most price potential. What’s the phrase? No risk, no fun.

Nikola’s management team is considered excellent. CEO Stephen Girsky pointed out that this includes top managers who no longer actually have to work in a start-up, but who are happy to contribute their expertise to make the company’s vision a reality. This is the right approach – out of conviction and with experience.

Disclaimer

Each investor must always be aware of their own risk when investing in shares and should consider a sensible risk diversification. The FC companies and shares mentioned here are small and mid cap, i.e. they are not standard stocks and their volatility is also much higher. This report is not meant to be viewed as purchase recommendations, and the author holds no liability for your actions. All information is based on publicly available sources and, as far as assessment is concerned, represents exclusively the personal opinion of the author, who focuses on medium- and long-term valuation and not on short-term profit. The author may be in possession of the shares presented here.

FuelCell Energy: A turnaround at last?

FuelCell Energy: A turnaround at last?

Here, I am cautious. The company, in my opinion, does not yet offer any convincing prospects, expressed in terms of expected growth, orders and sales through the use of its technology, which was also supported by the share price drop to 1 USD. From this very low level, the price has now turned around, driven by the news. It looks as if a gradual rise in the share price is now imminent. FuelCell Energy reports a number of projects in Africa, the USA and Canada. Nigeria for example, plans to generate at least 30 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030 (MoU with Oando Clean Energy).

FuelCell Energy speaks of projects, but so far without naming order values; however, it is clear that demand for FC technologies such as solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) is increasing. In Canada, a project with FuelCell Energy as technology partner was nominated for the Innovation Fund Award. Together with the companies Kinetrics and Bruce Power, the energy production of Ontario Power is to be expanded by hydrogen. And FuelCell Energy is about CO2-free hydrogen in commercial vehicles and about using electricity from nuclear power plants for hydrogen production (surplus electricity). Although this is only a pilot project, orders for high-temperature electrolyzers from FuelCell Energy are expected in the future.

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Summary: The company has a healthy balance sheet structure and sufficient equity for financing. Unfortunately, FuelCell Energy does not yet have a long-term strategy that we can understand as to how FC technology and IP are to be used profitably. Cooperations such as that with ExxonMobil and IBM in the field of carbon capture sound very exciting, but how is money to be earned with such? The share will go its way, especially as support programs (Inflation Reduction Act) and the need for safe, clean energy form the basis for this. An own electricity portfolio (own plants, energy sales via PPA) will form the basis of the company’s earnings in the long term. A perfect FC/H2 share for traders.

Disclaimer

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Each investor must always be aware of their own risk when investing in shares and should consider a sensible risk diversification. The FC companies and shares mentioned here are small and mid cap, i.e. they are not standard stocks and their volatility is also much higher. This report is not meant to be viewed as purchase recommendations, and the author holds no liability for your actions. All information is based on publicly available sources and, as far as assessment is concerned, represents exclusively the personal opinion of the author, who focuses on medium- and long-term valuation and not on short-term profit. The author may be in possession of the shares presented here.

Immense potential on the Bosporus

Immense potential on the Bosporus

How is Turkey’s energy industry developing?

Sometimes a rooftop walk is all it takes to get an overview of the essential systems for the energy transition and climate protection: On the technology center of the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, 26 men and women, mostly renewables professionals from the Turkish city of Izmir, stand between solar modules, red steel hydrogen bottles and a pilot plant for capturing carbon dioxide from the air. Everything they see provokes lively interest and copious photos, including the view across to the nearby research wind farm. Here, in the Bergedorf area of Hamburg, the delegation from the German-Turkish chamber of industry and commerce AHK Türkei is able to observe firsthand how the outdoor components work together with the equipment within the building – such as the electrolyzer and the methanation plant. In a way, it’s like the energy transition in miniature.

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Not that there won’t be such plants in Turkey, especially since the country published its own hydrogen strategy at the start of this year. Like Germany, Turkey intends to use hydrogen to defossilize its domestic industry. Yet the Izmir engineers are visibly impressed by the system integration and process optimization in Hamburg, resulting in detailed questioning of the scientists from the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences or HAW.

While, on the one hand, the trip is a technical information-gathering exercise, the visit by delegates from Turkey’s third largest city to key renewables projects and organizations in the Hamburg metropolitan region also acts a way to initiate joint energy transition projects. The area around Izmir has ambitions to become a center point for renewable energy and green hydrogen. Similar to Hamburg, the city on the Aegean Sea and its surrounding region is characterized by its port as well as its industrial and commercial activities. Other cities and regions in Turkey which want to position themselves for hydrogen include Istanbul, Antalya and the southern Marmara area.

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Fig. 2: Energiecampus Hamburg: Hydrogen. Photovoltaic system. Wind turbines (Curslack research wind farm)

In January 2023, Turkey’s ministry for energy and natural resources presented strategies for expanding hydrogen technologies – with a focus on green hydrogen. The intention is to reach a capacity of 2 gigawatts by the year 2030; this will then rise to 5 gigawatts by 2035 and 70 gigawatts by 2053. As a starting point, those targets seem rather low. It is likely, however, that these will be further increased. After all, Turkey does not only want to produce hydrogen locally to decarbonize its own industry but, as the AHK Türkei explained when asked: “Excess green hydrogen is to be exported.”

German-Turkish collaboration

In keeping with this aim, German economy minister Robert Habeck and Turkish energy minister Fatih Dönmez signed a letter of intent in October 2022 in Berlin “relating to closer collaboration on green hydrogen matters,” as a spokesman for the German economy ministry explained. “The conclusion of the agreement coincided with the fourth German-Turkish energy forum, an important platform for dialog between representatives from politics, business and civil society of both countries within the climate and energy field.”

To support Turkey in climate change mitigation, Germany is making EUR 200 million available through loans from the German state-owned investment and development bank KfW. According to the German economy ministry, the loans “are to be made available to the market via Turkish partner banks and are to be used in particular for funding renewable energy and energy efficiency in Turkey. The International Climate Initiative will make a further EUR 20 million available for improved financing terms, particularly for innovative climate protection measures.”


Fig. 3: View of the electrolyzer in the CC4E

Largest solar plant in Europe

And because renewable electricity is needed for the production of green hydrogen, Turkey is planning to expand its wind power capacity to almost 30 gigawatts by 2035. An even sharper increase is proposed for solar energy, which is envisaged to grow from the 9.4 gigawatts calculated in 2022 to around 53 gigawatts in 2035. In early May, operation began at the biggest solar power plant in Europe, including Asia Minor, an event that went mostly undetected by the German public. The plant, located in the Konya province of central Turkey, has a capacity of 1.35 gigawatts and is also one of the largest facilities of its kind in the world. About 3 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity is expected to be generated every year at the photovoltaic plant in Karapınar. That’s enough to meet the needs of 2 million people in Turkey, the company Kalyon PV has reported.

With the help of sun, wind, hydropower, geothermal and biomass, the country could completely cover its own electricity demand in the future, according to an analysis by the Turkish hydrogen society NHA. Furthermore, it states that green hydrogen will first help decarbonize domestic industry, especially steel, cement and fertilizer production, so that the country is then ultimately in a position to export hydrogen, which is globally sought after as a base material and an energy storage medium.

German cooperation partners needed

“For Germany companies, there is potential in terms of know-how, project development and technological solutions,” explained the AHK Türkei. The actual size of the potential in the southeastern European nation, which, in any case, is more than twice the landmass of Germany, can already be seen in the current state of play for renewables: Despite its size and favorable wind conditions, the installed capacity of its wind plants, totaling 11.4 gigawatts in 2022, is still relatively modest. A chance, then, for the German wind industry to form business partnerships with Turkish companies? Yes, was the answer from the delegation in Hamburg, and by that the participants do not mean just large system manufacturers, but also small- and medium-size enterprises, suppliers and service providers.

“Following the announcement of expansion targets for offshore wind, the Turkish wind market is gaining new momentum and significance for the export of German technology and know-how,” confirms Jan Rispens, CEO of industry network Renewable Energy Hamburg, whose membership runs to around 240 organizations from the northern part of Germany. “For many years, Turkey has been a major wind market for German- and Hamburg-based companies.” For instance, Nordex, TÜV Nord and EnBW have operations in the country, be it through their own subsidiaries or by engaging in joint ventures with Turkish business partners.

But the changeover from traditional energy sources to renewable forms will take time. In the past, the country has spent vast sums of money on importing fossil fuels, primarily natural gas and oil. “Importing energy cost around USD 97 billion last year alone,” says Yıldız Onur, commercial attaché in the Turkish consulate general in Hamburg and who accompanied the Izmir delegation. As a result, costs compared with the previous year have risen by nearly 90 percent, she states, adding that it therefore makes financial sense to concentrate more on domestic energy production in order to lessen dependence on imports.


Fig. 4: Methanation plant in the CC4E

Closeness to Russia

Famously, one of the ways President Erdoğan’s government is seeking to produce more of its own energy is through the use of nuclear power. At the end of April, he inaugurated his country’s first atomic power plant, built by the Russian state enterprise Rosatom, which explains why Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin took part in the ceremony via video. As it happened, the event took place on the same day that polling stations opened in Germany as well as in other countries for Turkish expatriates to cast their vote in Turkey’s election. Erdoğan also took the opportunity of the nuclear power plant’s inauguration to announce the expansion of atomic power and the exploitation of new gas reserves.

Turkish opposition alliance CHP was, however, not opposed in principle to nuclear energy, and is also not against the exploration of new gas fields in the Black Sea. Nevertheless, the opposition did criticize the dependence on Russia and instead wanted to focus on “Turkish technology.” New coal-fired power plants, though, should not be built. According to its policy, the CHP is concentrating on pursuing a green energy transition in all sectors, including agriculture.

Although the May 2023 election mandated the old Turkish government – there is indeed no way of avoiding green hydrogen. At least that is the firm opinion of entrepreneur Ali Köse, not least because of the European Union’s Green Deal and the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, a measure that would require companies in future to make equalization payments for carbon dioxide emissions. Köse is a founder and board member of the Turkish hydrogen association H2DER and CEO of the company H2Energy Solutions. His company’s goal is to make Turkey “fit” for green hydrogen and to export it to Germany. The company, for instance, is currently working on a hydrogen mobility project in Istanbul.

Köse has observed that other companies in this field are likewise sounding out the Turkish market. They are linking up and building partnerships. What is missing, however, is the framework that will provide planning certainty for investors. And, in his view, even the expansion of rooftop solar energy systems is still hampered by bureaucracy. “In Turkey, fewer roofs are fitted with PV than in Germany,” says Köse, who regularly travels between the two countries. “Due to the solar radiation level here, every megawatt of installed PV capacity generates roughly double the amount of electricity as in Germany.”

Author: Monika Rößiger