Green hydrogen heralded as the linchpin of the energy transition, faces a setback in Schleswig-Holstein as a major 30-megawatt project in Heide is abandoned.
Investors Raffinerie Heide, Hynamics Deutschland, and Ørsted Deutschland cite unprofitability under current conditions, prompting a reevaluation of green hydrogen’s viability in the region.
State Secretary Joschka Knuth emphasizes the pivotal role of green hydrogen, stating, “We need green hydrogen to create storage capacity, to produce even high loads, and also because it is cheap to transport.” The failure of the Heide project serves as a learning opportunity, urging adjustments for competitiveness in larger-scale ventures.
Knuth outlines two crucial factors requiring federal intervention: a high CO2 pricing structure to enhance the competitiveness of green products and favorable conditions for providing affordable green electricity for hydrogen production.
Despite the setback, Schleswig-Holstein boasts 40 green hydrogen projects, with 25 in advanced stages and seven operational electrolysis plants. Annika Erichsen, head of the State Coordination Office for the Hydrogen Economy, emphasizes the importance of networking projects to facilitate mutual learning.
“The mobility sector is important for the ramp-up of green hydrogen,” says Erichsen, noting a greater willingness to invest in smaller, manageable projects. Green hydrogen finds applications in fueling trucks and industrial processes.
In North Frisia, GP Joule has been a trailblazer in green hydrogen for twelve years, operating electrolysis plants with a quarterly production of 70 tons. The company focuses on local partnerships and plans to expand existing 250-kilowatt to 10-megawatt plants.
Despite the Heide refinery setback, plans for a 500-megawatt electrolysis plant are underway on the West Coast with the HyScale100 project, featuring partners like cement manufacturer Holcim. Arne Stecher, project manager, stresses the need for decarbonization in cement production and aims for climate neutrality by 2028.
Prof. Oliver Opel at the West Coast University of Applied Sciences in Heide highlights the technical feasibility of electrolysis plants on both small and large scales. However, cost-effectiveness remains a challenge for larger electrolyzers.
Opel remains optimistic about change in 2024, urging a change in the legal framework. Despite the obstacles, the commitment to green hydrogen in Schleswig-Holstein remains unwavering, with stakeholders calling for the necessary shifts to realize the full potential of this transformative energy source.