As a starting point for the manufacturing of isophoronediamine (IPDA), a crucial raw material for rotor blades in wind turbines, Evonik is investing in a pilot electrolyzer at the Herne location.
Siemens Energy is investigating the potential of this novel electrolysis technique in an industrial chemical setting as part of an associated project. End of 2022 marked the beginning of the project collaboration, which will last until mid-2025. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research provides funding for both the investment and research programmes.
Judith Pirscher, State Secretary at the BMBF, says: “Green hydrogen is the missing piece of the puzzle for the energy transition. With the H2annibal project , we are therefore promoting research into innovative hydrogen technologies under real conditions in a chemical plant. This is how we accelerate the transfer from science to business and support the ramp-up of the hydrogen economy in Germany. The two projects are funded by the BMBF with a total of around 9.3 million euros.”
Maike Schuh, Chief Financial Officer at Evonik, says: “We are investing massively in green growth and are thus making ourselves more sustainable. In order to reduce our CO2 footprint, we want to invest a total of 700 million euros in production processes and infrastructure throughout the Group by 2030. The water electrolysis in Herne is an important building block.”
Where hard coal was mined up until almost 50 years ago at the Hannibal colliery, Evonik and Siemens Energy are leading the industry change in terms of climate protection.
At Herne, Evonik has so far relied on hydrogen from fossil fuels. Future plans include for on-site production of renewable hydrogen. It uses a Siemens Energy PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) electrolyser with a nominal output of 8 MW.
This is run on renewable energy sources and can provide all of the oxygen needed at the site, as well as up to 45% of the hydrogen needed, in the form of green hydrogen. With the use of electricity, water is split into hydrogen and oxygen during electrolysis. Each year, 12,000 tonnes of CO2 can be avoided by running the electrolyser.