MAN Energy Solutions and Fraunhofer IST study solutions for Salzgitter hydrogen supply

The framework conditions for the future supply of green hydrogen to the Salzgitter steel facility in Hannover have been examined by MAN Energy Solutions and the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films (IST) and have been published.

The study, which was ordered by Hydrogen Campus Salzgitter, looks into a number of issues, including how locally produced green hydrogen might enhance German supplies and its potential competitiveness with imports.

According to the study’s estimations, local hydrogen can be profitable and even less expensive than imports starting in 2030 if used directly without additional conversion. While hydrogen imports from Tunisia, for instance, would cost at least €4.70 to generate, production costs of roughly €4.00 per kilogram are feasible in northern Germany—profit margins in both cases excluded.

For the study, the authors evaluated potential import routes, such as those from Portugal, Canada, Tunisia, and Australia, and modeled various supply chains for green hydrogen. Despite the fact that green hydrogen may be produced far more affordably in nations with abundant sunshine, it must first be converted before being transported to Germany and then converted once more for household use. The cost of H2 produced from wind energy in northern Germany, which may be piped to its destination for immediate usage, drives the overall expense above this process step, which is costly and loss-prone.

Pure hydrogen cannot currently be transported over longer distances economically due to its low energy density and extreme volatility, and ports lack the necessary tanker fleets and infrastructure. Therefore, experts predict that initially scaling up international transit will involve conversion to more easily transported media, such as methanol, ammonia, etc.

The study by MAN Energy Solutions and IST did not include liquefied hydrogen or LOHCs (Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers) in its analysis due to poor technological maturity and a lack of infrastructure.

However, the possibility of large-scale import situations would be immediately entertained by converting hydrogen into ammonia, methane, or methanol.