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A look into the future of the hydrogen economy

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In the field of hydrogen, Bavaria is one of the pioneers in Europe. The focus of a delegation trip to Munich by Lower Austria’s Economic Regional Councilor Jochen Danninger, WKNÖ President Wolfgang Ecker, the state’s business agency ecoplus and companies from Lower Austria was therefore on the topic of hydrogen technology.

“Especially in view of the Ukraine war and the energy crisis, which is currently posing major challenges for the whole of Europe, we can learn a lot from our Bavarian neighbors in terms of hydrogen. The federal government’s hydrogen strategy must now be implemented very quickly. Here, we Bavarians are still lagging behind, who have already been implementing suitable measures for two years. Now it is important to quickly establish practicable framework conditions for the production and use of hydrogen in Austria,” emphasized Economic Provincial Councilor Jochen Danninger and Economic Chamber of Lower Austria President Wolfgang Ecker.

“In the long term we have a great need for action, in particular we want to reduce our dependence on Russian natural gas, because currently 80 percent of our demand comes from Russia. This will not be achieved overnight, but hydrogen will be an essential building block in this. The clear focus here is on green hydrogen produced with the help of renewable energies. Here we want to learn from the best how this can work. I am therefore very pleased that so many renowned companies from Lower Austria have joined our delegation and I am confident that this will lead to cooperations with Bavarian companies,” emphasized Jochen Danninger, the regional councilor for economic affairs.

The importance of this independence is illustrated by concrete figures: Just under 25 percent of the energy demand is covered by gas. Of this, only one-eighth is required by households, the rest is used by companies. This makes it all the more important to find new ways of supplying gas and to exploit the potential of hydrogen.

WKNÖ President Wolfgang Ecker therefore emphasized: “Our goal is always to exchange ideas with the best. Bavaria is setting the course for the future with its hydrogen strategy. In addition, Lower Austria and Bavaria are traditionally strong partners in the energy and technology sectors. This means that the basis for cooperation in the promising field of hydrogen has already been laid!”

During the trip, the focus was on the one hand on the discussion of the Bavarian hydrogen strategy and on the other hand, the participants gained interesting insights into innovative companies and institutions – so the Lower Austrian representatives were able to take a look into the future of the hydrogen economy.

Among others, Electrochaea GmbH, one of the world’s leading technology companies for biological power-to-gas solutions, was visited. The company KEYOU develops hydrogen technologies that can be used to initiate a rapid evolution from the oil age to the hydrogen age. SFC Energy AG is a leading supplier of hydrogen and methanol fuel cells for stationary and mobile hybrid power solutions.

Cooperations are the be-all and end-all when it comes to developing innovative products. So the trip is also intended to explore further opportunities for cooperation. One example of a successful cross-border cooperation in the field of hydrogen: The companies SFC Energy AG from Bavaria, TEST-FUCHS GmbH from Lower Austria and Auto AG Group from Switzerland are jointly developing the world’s first mobile and emission-free hydrogen generator in its power class. The mobile power generator with hydrogen fuel cells is suitable, among other things, for areas without access to the power grid, such as construction sites or outdoor events.

Eight companies from Lower Austria – Brantner Group, CLEEN Energy AG, EVN AG, HydroSolid GmbH, Kälte- und Systemtechnik GmbH (Kustec), TEST-FUCHS GmbH, Venz GmbH and Worthington Industries Austria – took part in the delegation trip and were able to gain valuable insights and establish contacts.

The delegation trip was organized by WKNÖ and ecoplus. “One goal of delegation trips is to deal with future-oriented technologies, to get to know new business models or simply to be shown new perspectives. I think we were able to fulfill this claim and we will take many impressions and ideas back to Lower Austria,” ecoplus Managing Director Helmut Miernicki and WKNÖ Deputy Director Alexandra Höfer emphasized.

Nedim Husomanovic

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