According to Andreas Scheuer, German Transport Minister, North Germany will gain a “Innovation and Technologies Center” (ITZ) for aviation and shipping that will focus on fuel cell and hydrogen technology.
This follows the German Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure awarding Bremen/Bremerhaven, Stade, and Hamburg a tender (BMVI). The so-called ITZ Nord is part of the German government’s “National Hydrogen Strategy” for 2020, and it will create a new “German Center for Future Mobility” network. The focus is on the maritime and aeronautical sectors, with a focus on SMEs and start-ups that provide services throughout the three states. According to Scheuer, the German government will fund the joint initiative with up to 70 million euros until the end of 2024.
He went on to say that the decision is an essential step toward creating a “hydrogen country.” In Bavaria, Saxony, and North Rhine-Westphalia, further hydrogen centers will be created. Until the end of 2024, up to 290 million euros will be made available for this, with up to 70 million euros going to the joint project in the north. Scheuer went on to say that the federal states would also give financial resources.
Through the ITZ for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technology in Mobility, the BMVI is implementing a component of the German government’s National Hydrogen Strategy, which was established in June 2020. (Road, Rail, Water, Air). According to BMVI, the center will be part of the “German Center for Future Mobility” network and will focus on application development rather than research and development. The center will improve the competitiveness of start-ups, entrepreneurs, and small businesses. BMVI received a total of 15 concepts from all throughout Germany.
Hamburg, Stade, and Bremen/Bremerhaven presented a proposal that focuses on creating and integrating fuel cell systems, hybridization of drives, refueling concepts, logistics, green hydrogen and hydrogen-based fuel storage and processing, as well as testing components and systems. According to the Ministry of Economics and Innovation, the ITZ North will bring together experience in standardization and certification, and is an example of the long-standing successful cooperation between the three north German states. More than 100 companies have expressed support for the project, including shipyards, aircraft construction, suppliers, the energy industry, infrastructure, shipping companies, engineering service providers, certification companies, associations, universities, and non-university research institutions.
Commenting on the decision, Peter Tschentscher, Mayor of Hamburg, said: “As the world’s third-largest location for civil aviation, a port city and hub of international freight traffic, and central railroad and hub in Europe, Hamburg is the north’s capital of mobility.” Hydrogen could replace fossil fuels on water, in heavy goods traffic and in aviation and make logistics climate-friendlier. Thus, the future ITZ Nord is “another strong impulse for developing hydrogen technology in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. It helps start-ups and SMEs execute their hydrogen projects,” he added, while Scheuer noted: “We are spanning the Hydrogen Innovation and Technology Center across Germany. The sites in the north, south, west and east will address different industrial needs. Here in the north, for example, in the maritime and aeronautical sectors.”