Carinthia leans toward hydrogen

State Councilor for Economic Affairs Sebastian Schuschnig explains that “hydrogen is part of the answer to decarbonization and the energy issue” in numerous applications.

Energy shortages, rising electricity prices, and worries about energy supply security are weighing heavily on the region’s economy and manufacturing. As a result of climate change, we must take bold action. To stop buying more expensive fuels overseas and to ensure a steady supply for the economy, we must develop domestic alternatives to imported fossil energy. To store the energy generated from renewables, a smart combination of technologies is needed. Schuschnig stresses the importance of hydrogen as a foundational ingredient for achieving a carbon-free economy and sustainable modes of transportation.

With the “Hydrogen Roadmap 2030,” Carinthia will make its first strategic decision regarding the usage and growth of the state’s hydrogen infrastructure at the next government meeting. As the first federal state to develop its own plan for hydrogen implementation, Carinthia is a pioneer in the field. Opportunities presented by the national hydrogen plan for Carinthia may be exploited in this way, and EU money from the Green Deal can be brought to Carinthia. Electrolysis of renewable energy sources is the only acceptable method of producing hydrogen for usage. This is the only sustainable path to full decarbonization and climate protection.

The industry will get help in the form of a consultancy offensive in October, led by industry partners. The state of Carinthia provides free first consultations with hydrogen specialists to the most energy-hungry businesses. This is meant to provide businesses with rapid and fact-based analysis of the regions in which switching to hydrogen makes the most sense, as well as the greatest avenues for securing finance at the federal and EU levels.

Currently, industrial usage accounts for all of Carinthia’s annual use of hydrogen, which is over 5,400 tons. Even today, fossil fuels are used to produce nearly all hydrogen. As a result of implementing the proposed plan, this will shift to: The global use of hydrogen should increase fourfold by the year 2030. Up to a hundred percent, more renewable hydrogen is planned. According to the state council, “by 2030, it is possible to achieve a C02 reduction of roughly 150,000t/year, which is between five and ten percent of the total C02 emissions.” In particular, circular economy initiatives that can recycle hydrogen should be created. As of right now, the H2Carinthia initiative is a world-first pioneering effort.

It is anticipated that Carinthia’s first electrolysis facility will begin operations this year. In 2023, when the first hydrogen filling station is scheduled to open, buses, lorries, and vehicles will be able to fill up with hydrogen. Schuschnig stresses that by 2030, filling up will be feasible at all major traffic intersections in Carinthia thanks to an expansion of the filling station infrastructure. The Villach-Land area will be the first to put five hydrogen buses into service this year. About 50 hydrogen-powered buses are expected to be in service in Carinthia by 2030, as outlined in the strategy. Schuschnig underlines that this has zero impact on the environment and the climate.

“Green hydrogen offers a substantial contribution to achieving the energy transition, strengthening the security of energy supply for the economy, and also giving Carinthia a revolutionary boost as a business and technological site,” says Schuschnig in conclusion. Hydrogen Center Austria, based near Graz, Austria, is the industry leader in hydrogen research and designed the roadmap. Carinthia is leading by example, and that’s especially true now that the state has mandated that all hydrogen fuel used in the state be renewable. Alexander Trattner, CEO of HyCent A GmbH, stresses that this is a perfect example of how to put climate goals into action.