German companies turning to hydrogen

Kelheim Fibers began searching for other fuel sources in June after Russian gas deliveries to Germany were halted.

Since mid-January, the Bavarian manufacturer, whose fibres are used in teabags and tampons, can utilize heating oil instead of gas. However, it would raise carbon emissions, therefore the company is exploring switching to hydrogen, which is cleaner if produced using renewable power.

Kelheim Fibers is one of many small and medium-sized firms that support Europe’s largest economy and are diversifying their energy mix to maintain output.

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, Germany had to revive or extend its coal-fired power plants, jeopardizing carbon emissions targets. However, economist Klaus Wohlrabe suggested the crisis might lead to greener production.

Kelheim Fibers, which uses 85% gas for energy, is in talks with stakeholders to import 30,000 tonnes of hydrogen per year starting in 2025.

Germany’s Economic Affairs Ministry approved the first hydrogen pipeline network this month. It also unveiled a plan to help small and medium-sized firms transition to climate-neutral production, including increasing hydrogen infrastructure.

Utility sector association BDEW warned earlier this month that a Hydrogen Act to streamline regulation and accelerate hydrogen investments is needed.