In the town of Hemmingstedt in Holstein, the vision of producing green hydrogen on an industrial scale has faced an unexpected setback. The “West Coast 100” project, once hailed as a lighthouse initiative for green energy, has been halted after just three years, leaving questions about the viability of large-scale hydrogen production.
Initiated by former Economics Minister Peter Altmaier and lauded by his successor Robert Habeck, the West Coast 100 project aimed to deliver a mix of “future energy” and synthetic gas through municipal utility pipes. The goal was to establish a test area in the nearby district town of Heide, providing green heating to 214 households.
However, the 30-megawatt electrolysis plant, crucial for producing hydrogen from water using solar and wind energy, failed to materialize. Despite financial support from the Ministry of Economics and Climate Change and the Forschungszentrum Jülich, the project faced an unexpected demise.
Despite the project’s discontinuation, Antoine Aslanidès, Managing Director of Hynamics, a subsidiary of French energy company EDF, expressed gratitude to the federal government. The West Coast 100 project provided an opportunity to develop valuable skills and competencies, which will be applied to future projects focused on decarbonization.
The financial loss for taxpayers is reported to be one million euros, significantly lower than the initially approved 36 million euros. The “H₂-ready lines” laid in the Dithmarschen district, intended for the West Coast 100 project, may find utility for natural gas or liquefied natural gas from the USA.
Germany envisions a 9,700-kilometer-long hydrogen core network connecting ports, storage facilities, power plants, and industrial centers by 2032. This hydrogen highway, costing 19.8 billion euros, is expected to play a crucial role in replacing traditional energy sources across various sectors.
Despite setbacks like West Coast 100, the commitment to hydrogen remains strong. The Hyscale 100 electrolyzer project, three times larger and still in the planning phase, is forging ahead with partners Hynamics/EDF, the Heide refinery, and building materials group Holcim.