The model region’s centerpiece is an eleven-kilometer natural gas pipeline that will be converted to pure hydrogen and used as a storage system for energy.
The Sauerland model region was officially launched by Armin Laschet, Prime Minister of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, Christoph Dammermann, State Secretary of the State of North Rhine-Ministry Westphalia’s of Economics, Leonhard Birnbaum, CEO of E.ON SE, Katherina Reiche, CEO of Westenergie AG, and representatives from the regional economy and politics.
In his video message, NRW Premier Armin Laschet said:“We need hydrogen for the transition to a climate-neutral global economy. The industrial state of North Rhine-Westphalia is right at the forefront. We know that this is the only way we can achieve our ambitious climate goals and the only way we can maintain the competitiveness of our industry. With the Sauerland climate pro-tection model region project, the development of the hydrogen economy is now also starting in the Sauerland. This is good news and an important signal for the business location and for the Sauerland as a whole, a region that is home to many ‘hidden champions’, family-run companies and world market leaders.”
In his video message, Christoph Dammermann, the State Secretary for Economic Affairs, said:“Hydrogen is one of the central elements for achieving the climate protection goals by 2045. Numerous highly committed and innovative companies like those here in the Sauerland are already working on solutions for a future hydrogen economy. In this way we can succeed in developing North Rhine-Westphalia into a leading hydrogen region in Europe.”
“The energy transition and genuine climate protection can only be effective and sustainable if politics, business, science and society act in unison. The Sauerland model region for climate protection will prove that the tightened climate protection goals are indeed achievable. Here in Arnsberg we will show that progress in climate protection can be achieved where practical steps are implemented,”Leonhard Birnbaum emphasised.
“Here in the Sauerland we will demonstrate that hydrogen can become the centrepiece of a region’s energy system and ensure climate neutrality and security of supply at local level. We will only succeed in ramping up the hydrogen economy if we cooperate with partners along the entire value chain and use the existing gas infrastructure. Here in Arnsberg, the conditions for a model region are ideal because we have a suitable natural gas pipeline that will become the main artery of the project,”said Katherina Reiche.
The members of the project advisory board signed a cooperation agreement during the kick-off event, which was also streamed live online. The partners will collaborate to bid for funding for various aspects of the technologically innovative Sauerland model region project, which is set to begin in mid-2022.
Arnsberg will serve as the model region’s starting point for climate protection. The project includes local distribution infrastructure, energy storage, hydrogen production, hydrogen mobility, process gases for local industry, heat for private homes, and a link to a large-diameter hydrogen transmission pipeline running to the neighboring Ruhr area, as well as a link to a large-diameter hydrogen transmission pipeline running to the neighboring Ruhr area. The complete value chain from hydrogen generation to transmission and distribution, as well as consumption, will be covered in the first part of the Sauerland model region for climate protection. The model region’s development to incorporate other towns and municipalities is already in the works.
The model project will be carried out in stages. The eleven-kilometer high-pressure gas pipeline between Arnsberg and Eisborn will first be converted to hydrogen by Westnetz, Westenergie’s distribution network operator. The pipeline, which was once part of a supra-regional transmission network, has a storage capacity of around 150 megawatt hours. On a chilly winter day, its storage capacity is enough to provide sustainable energy to the equivalent of 1,000 modern single-family houses. TÜV Nord’s expert analysis has already certified that the pipeline can be converted to pure hydrogen in theory.
The 110-kilovolt substation “Niedereimer,” which will be utilized for the construction of a pyrolysis plant, is less than one kilometer from the pipeline’s eastern end. The hydrogen generated from green methane, as well as waste water and various methane-containing waste products, will be moved to a storage pipeline and sent to consumers as needed. Because the conversion process produces carbon, it will be classified as turquoise hydrogen. For further utilization, this solid carbon will be made available to industrial businesses.
In the Sauerland model region, hydrogen will play a critical role in decarbonizing industrial processes. Potential customers are small and medium-sized enterprises from Arnsberg, waste disposal vehicle and local public transport operators as well as private households in a residential area close to the hydrogen pipeline where the hydrogen will be used for space heating.
Energy producers in the Sauerland region have already expressed a strong desire to link new wind turbines to the electricity distribution infrastructure. At the same time, many towns and municipalities have well-connected electrical and gas systems. As a result, the Sauerland’s expected growth in wind energy will serve as the foundation for additional electricity and gas connections points. Another biomass plant is also being considered. The project partners agree that if adequate money is provided, the Sauerland model region for climate protection may expand rapidly.