Contact

One-man show continues to grow

One-man show continues to grow

Hydrogeit Verlag celebrates its 20th anniversary

The Hydrogeit Verlag publishing house has been reporting on hydrogen and fuel cell technology for more than 20 years. In these two decades, what was once a one-man operation has now become a key player in the H2 community, providing information and comment through its books and particularly through its specialist journal H2-international and its German counterpart HZwei.

It all began with a book with a very rudimentary design that was published single-handedly in 2002. The title: “Wasserstoff und Brennstoffzellen – Die Technik von morgen” (Hydrogen and Fuel Cells – The Technology of Tomorrow). Due to a lack of enthusiasm from existing publishers at that time, not to mention the outrageously low remuneration that would have been offered to the author, the first edition was released as a “book on demand,” a printing and copying process suitable for small print runs which emerged in the early aughts.

Advertisements

Despite its simplistic layout, the publication still managed to find an interested readership – not least because of the lack of other books on hydrogen – as did the booklet on “Wasserstoff- und Brennstoffzellen-Projekte” (Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Projects) published shortly afterward. The book attracted the attention of graphic designer Andreas Wolter, who liked the content but thought the layout was “unworthy” and offered to raise the quality bar for the second edition. And so it was that the reworked edition appeared two years later with a slick new design, published by the newly founded Hydrogeit Verlag.

Thus Andreas Wolter was the first to join our ever-growing team. A team that makes Hydrogeit Verlag what it is today: the first, and still only, specialist publisher for hydrogen and fuel cells.

Heartfelt thanks!

We’d also like to extend a very special thank-you to everyone who has played a part in creating the books, magazines, websites and newsletters: Henrike Hiersig and Robert Müller, who never fail to be utterly reliable and conscientious in their layout work; Dione Gutzmer, who has proofread so meticulously from the start; Wolf and Kathrin Lewitz, who for many years have showed their creativity in handling all things online; Nicole Helmich and Ina Woryna from fulfillment company VAH Jager, who initially took over the shipping and now also handle the billing; Michael Suckow from printec who, along with his team, brings our creations to life in print, as well as Karlee Archer and Nicola Bottrell Hayward for rendering the German articles into English.

And – crucially – the ever-growing editorial team with Eva Augsten, Sven Jösting, Monika Rößiger, Niels Hendrik Petersen and Aleksandra Fedorska in addition to many others who – time permitting – can always be relied upon to contribute valuable content.

Needless to say, there have also been many others involved in the wide array of publishing projects, be it the hydrogen CD, the teaching material on batteries and fuel cells, the study pack on renewable raw materials or diverse books that have been and will continue to be issued.

Thanks also go to the numerous project partners that over this long period have had a considerable influence on the development of the publishing house and thus likewise on the development of the renewables sector. And, of course, we thank our loyal readers.

It is all thanks to you that Hydrogeit Verlag continues to grow and that – at least to a certain degree – the H2 and FC industry is where it is today. It’s certainly no exaggeration to say that this small publishing house has succeeded in reaching many readers, among them a number of decision-makers, something which has likely helped hydrogen and fuel cells move beyond its niche and into the mainstream.

And with this in mind, we are excited to see what may lie ahead.

Author: Sven Geitmann

Hydrogen for the post-coal era

Hydrogen for the post-coal era

Nuclear energy also to power electrolysis in Hungary

In May 2021, Hungary published its national hydrogen strategy. It sets out how the country plans to create opportunities post-coal. According to the strategy, gray hydrogen is initially expected to be used within industry in the current decade. This will then be replaced only gradually by electrolytic hydrogen. Solar-derived hydrogen is to be produced on sites of former opencast mines, with the first plant already in operation.


Fig. 2: The electrolyzer in the Bükkábrány energy park not only produces solar hydrogen but is also used for research

Advertisements

Elektrolizalo_4.jpg

Image: Bükkábrány Energiapark

The ministry for innovation and technology which is responsible for Hungary’s hydrogen strategy employs the terms “carbon-free hydrogen” and “low-carbon hydrogen” throughout its strategy paper. The expression “green hydrogen,” however, is absent. This is because the Paks nuclear power plant is due to play a major role in the country’s hydrogen production. Unlike other nations, Hungary has openly underlined its desire to put nuclear power at the center of its hydrogen energy plans.

The small town of Paks, situated a good 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Budapest on the western side of the Danube, is currently home to four working nuclear reactors which together generate 2 gigawatts of power. In addition, the Russian enterprise Rosatom is building a further two reactors at this location which are scheduled for completion in 2032. Their generation capacity is expected to be 2.4 GW. The ministry foresees the power plants in Paks supplying large quantities of cheap, carbon-free electricity that will help build the hydrogen value chain.

The ammonia and refining industries have also established themselves in the Paks area. This points toward possible synergies between the power and mobility sectors within a hydrogen economy. Iron- and steelworks are located in Dunaújváros on the eastern bank of the Danube and cement factories are found in the Transdanubia region to the west of the river. This area likewise has the potential to decarbonize through the introduction of a hydrogen economy.

Northwest: hydrogen instead of coal

Another focus region for the hydrogen economy is expected to be the northwest of the country. Here, decarbonization efforts will center on the old Mátra coal-fired power plant. The mines and the brown coal generation facility will remain operational until 2025, after which time only companies involved in machinery construction, underground engineering and biomass production will continue their activities.

It is hoped that hydrogen will ensure an equitable transition for the Mátra power plant as it moves toward an emission-free future. The intention is to manage the social and economic changes caused by phasing out coal combustion, which will affect the lives of thousands of people, with utmost care and responsibility.

Beyond Transdanubia, initial pilot projects have demonstrated that green hydrogen made using solar power has a great deal of potential here. Photovoltaic plants are being installed on the sites of former opencast mines.

One such pilot project is the Bükkábrány energy park. The scheme is being supported by the University of Szeged and partially financed from EU innovation funds. In 2019, Bükkábrány was already producing solar power on a megawatt scale. By the end of 2023 (correct at the time of publication), generation is set to reach 100 MW of PV power. A further 40 MW is anticipated between 2024 and 2025. An electrolyzer with a 1-MW capacity produces high-purity hydrogen on the site.

Although the project represents the first instance of a commercial-scale electrolyzer plant, the operator is keen to emphasize the trial nature of the project. On the website it states that the electrolyzer will make use of the generation peaks of the neighboring 22-MW solar plant, which is located in an area that was once an opencast brown coal mine. It is understood that the University of Szeged developed the control technology for the plant and has indicated interest in purchasing some of the green hydrogen produced in Bükkábrány.

National hydrogen strategy for Hungary (in English):

https://cdn.kormany.hu/uploads/document/a/a2/a2b/a2b2b7ed5179b17694659b8f050ba9648e75a0bf.pdf

Author: Aleksandra Fedorska

Hüwener to lead OGE

Hüwener to lead OGE

Thomas Hüwener will become the new management spokesman for transmission system operator OGE from July 1, 2024. The 52-year-old, who has held various positions at the company since 2001, was appointed by the supervisory board to succeed Jörg Bergmann, who is taking planned retirement after approximately 30 years in diverse roles at OGE – more than 15 years of which was spent as a member of the executive board.

Lincoln Hillier Webb, chairman of OGE’s supervisory board, commented: “With Thomas Hüwener, we have not only been able to attract an outstanding candidate for the position of spokesman – we are also demonstrating that we want to continue on the path of transformation we have embarked on.” Speaking on the subject of his new post, Hüwener said: “We have many decisive years ahead of us – both in the development of the hydrogen network and in the establishment of a CO2 transportation system. Together with the OGE team, I look forward to tackling these challenges and productively shaping the future of the company.”

Advertisements
Accelerating expansion and reducing hurdles

Accelerating expansion and reducing hurdles

German government adopts power plant strategy

It took a long time, but now it’s here – the power plant strategy (Kraftwerkstrategie) for Germany. It should actually have been available at the beginning of 2023, but the political agreement process was difficult and correspondingly time-consuming. On February 5, 2024, the strategy was presented, but it still has to be coordinated with Brussels and publicized. It is to create the framework for new investments in modern, highly flexible and climate-friendly hydrogen-capable power plants. Details on the future electricity market design will then be available in the summer – if the Ampel coalition leading the government reaches an agreement on that.

The aim of the power plant strategy is to ensure that the supply of electricity is “guaranteed climate-friendly, even in times with little sun and wind,” so that it can “make an important contribution to system stability.” A basic prerequisite for this, however, is that the expansion of renewable energies and the power grid is promoted so that decarbonization can advance.

Advertisements

To achieve this, German chancellor Olaf Scholz, economy minister Robert Habeck and finance minister Christian Lindner agreed on some essential elements. For example, an early expansion of power plants is to be encouraged. The tenders as part of the power plant strategy will be designed in such a way that the new power plants are fully integrated into the future capacity mechanism.

“The power plant strategy describes how we will bring new types of power plants that are hydrogen-capable onto the market.”

Robert Habeck, German minister for economy and climate protection

For it, soon new capacities (natural gas-fired power plants that are H2-ready and are located at system-serving sites) of 10 GW total will be put out to tender. Habeck had previously targeted more than twice as much. By 2040 at the latest, these are to be completely converted from natural gas to hydrogen. Power plants that run exclusively on hydrogen will be funded up to 500 MW as part of energy research. The funding required for this is to come from the climate and transformation fund (Klima- und Transformationsfonds). In addition, work on a future electricity market design is to be further advanced.

Existing barriers to the construction and operation of electrolyzers are to be removed. In addition, every opportunity should be taken to accelerate especially the expansion of electrolyzers that serve the German energy system. In addition, double charges in the form of levies and fees that are currently incurred when operating electrolyzers are to be eliminated. Specifically, it says (translated): “The use of surplus electricity shall be made possible without restriction; all existing regulatory hurdles shall be removed as far as possible.”

Criticism from the DWV

Initial reactions from the energy sector were generally positive. The DWV (German hydrogen and fuel cell association) expressly welcomed the fact that the German government has now agreed on key elements of a power plant strategy, as time is running out. At the same time, however, the chairman Werner Diwald criticized: “In the analysis of the BMWK (German economy ministry), it says that by 2030, over 23 GW of gas-fired power plants that can run on hydrogen are required to secure the electricity supply. The question therefore arises as to why in the key points agreement on the power plant strategy only a total of 10.5 GW of power plant capacity is to be put out to tender.” The DWV calls for the tendering of the long-announced 8.8 GW in the form of hybrid and “sprinter” power plants (generate electricity from renewable hydrogen as soon as the plant is in operation) as well as a further 15 GW of future-proof H2 power plant capacity to be put out to tender over the next three years. For the DVGW (German association for gas and water standards) as well, the capacity now targeted is “at best a first step.”

“By 2030, 80 percent of the electricity consumed in Germany is to come from renewable energies.”

BMWK

Brussels approves IPCEI projects

Brussels approves IPCEI projects

3rd funding wave for H2 infrastructure measures

The decision has finally come. In mid-February 2024, the European Commission approved 24 German IPCEI projects aka Important Projects of Common European Interest. Within the framework of IPCEI Hydrogen, funding is granted to large-scale projects across the entire hydrogen value chain – from H2 production and transportation to storage infrastructure and industrial deployment.

These projects are approved by the European Commission in several “waves.” In the current third wave, attention was turned to infrastructure schemes involving a total of seven EU member states (Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Slovakia). Across all projects, the aim is to build almost 3,000 kilometers (1,900 miles) of Hpipelines, more than 3.2 gigawatts of H2 production capacity in addition to approximately 370 gigawatt-hours of H2 storage capacity.

Advertisements

“While the renewable hydrogen supply chain in Europe is still in a nascent phase, Hy2Infra will deploy the initial building blocks of an integrated and open renewable hydrogen network. This IPCEI will establish the first regional infrastructure clusters in several Member States and prepare the ground for future interconnections across Europe, in line with the European Hydrogen Strategy. This will support the market ramp-up of renewable hydrogen supply and take us steps closer to making Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.”

Vice President of the European Commission Margrethe Vestager, responsible for competition policy

“For a successful roll-out of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen, all pieces of the puzzle need to come together. With this new Important Project of Common European Interest, 32 companies, including 5 SMEs, will invest in hydrogen infrastructure, for a total of more than 12 billion euro of private and public investment, to match supply and demand of hydrogen. It provides industries with more options to decarbonise their activities while boosting their competitiveness and creating jobs.”

EU Commissioner Thierry Breton

“I’m pleased that the wait for European funding approval has come to an end. It means we have made an important step toward realizing our hydrogen project. I now hope that we will soon receive funding approval from the German government so that we have a good basis for making the final investment decision within our committees.”

EWE Chief Executive Officer Stefan Dohler

It is expected that member states will provide up to EUR 6.9 billion in public funding which will then unlock EUR 5.4 billion in private investment. Involved in the 33 projects is a total of 32 companies, with small- and medium-sized businesses among them. Thus the IPCEI Hy2Infra should go some way in “helping to achieve the objectives of the European Green Deal and the REPowerEU Plan,” according to Brussels.

Most of the participating companies have been waiting a long time for this go-ahead to be given, which will enable them to finally kick off their projects. It is anticipated that several large electrolyzers will be commissioned between 2026 and 2028 and a number of pipelines will be brought into service between 2027 and 2029.


Fig. 2: Hydrogenious LOHC Technologies plans, as part of its Green Hydrogen@Blue Danube project, to trial benzyltoluene as a hydrogen carrier for the purpose of ensuring safe and efficient transportation of green hydrogen for supplying industrial off-takers in the Danube region

Hydrogenious_LOHC_ReleasePLANT_Rendering, Source: Hydrogenious,

IPCEI

The IPCEI Hy2Tech, which focuses on the development of hydrogen technologies for end consumers, was approved on July 15, 2022. This was followed in the second wave on Sept. 21, 2022, by the IPCEI Hy2Use which targets hydrogen applications in the industrial sector.

“IPCEI Hy2Infra contributes to a common objective by supporting the deployment of hydrogen infrastructure important for achieving the objectives of key EU policy initiatives such as the European Green Deal, the REPowerEU Plan and the EU Hydrogen Strategy.

All 33 projects included in the IPCEI are highly ambitious, as they aim at developing infrastructure that go [sic] beyond what the market currently offers. They will lay the first building blocks for an integrated and open hydrogen network, accessible on non-discriminatory terms, and enable the market ramp-up of renewable hydrogen supply in Europe. This will allow for the decarbonisation of economic sectors that depend on hydrogen to reduce their carbon emissions.

Aid to individual companies is limited to what is necessary and proportionate, and does not unduly distort competition.”

European Commission