Unlocking the potential of green hydrogen as a clean energy carrier requires overcoming the challenges of cost-efficient transportation from distant production sites to energy-hungry regions. In a groundbreaking collaboration, the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films (IST) joins hands with German and Australian partners to bring green hydrogen from Australia to Germany.
This article delves into the ambitious “ScaleH2” project, exploring its goals, technology, potential impact, and the pathway to realizing a sustainable hydrogen export supply chain.
At the heart of the “ScaleH2” project lies the vision of producing scalable proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysis stacks, utilizing innovative materials to generate renewable hydrogen cost-effectively. The ultimate goal is to establish a hydrogen-export value chain connecting the Illawarra region in New South Wales, Australia, to Germany. This ambitious endeavor will involve the processing of novel catalyst materials, the utilization of economical bipolar plates, and the demonstration of scalable coating and stack-assembly processes.
To transform the vision into reality, renowned German and Australian partners are working in close cooperation. Among the key players are ATCO, UNSW, UTS, Fraunhofer Institutes IST and IEG, the Institute of Energy and Process Systems Engineering at TU Braunschweig, Eisenhuth GmbH & Co. KG, Salzgitter AG, and Uniper SE. Together, they aim to drive innovations in electrolysis technology and advance the hydrogen value chain.
The central objective of the project is to supply green hydrogen in the form of ammonia to German ports, with the ENERGY HUB Port of Wilhelmshaven serving as a crucial gateway. Here, the ammonia will be converted back into hydrogen and transported to industrial customers in the emerging “Hydrogen Valleys.” One key target is the decarbonization of Salzgitter AG’s steel plant, a significant partner in the Hydrogen Campus Salzgitter. The Australian energy infrastructure operator ATCO is striving to develop an export supply chain with an impressive electrolysis capacity of 1 gigawatt, followed by ammonia conversion.
By seamlessly integrating green hydrogen into the energy landscape, the scientists behind “ScaleH2” aim to make a sustainable impact on reducing CO2 emissions and supporting the transition to a low-carbon industry. The project’s kickoff at the Hydrogen Campus Salzgitter marked the beginning of a journey towards a cleaner, greener future.
The “ScaleH2” project represents a pioneering effort to overcome the challenges of transporting green hydrogen over long distances, bridging the gap between Australia and Germany. By harnessing the potential of advanced electrolysis technology and a robust hydrogen value chain, the collaboration between German and Australian partners holds the key to unlocking a sustainable and low-carbon future. As the project unfolds, it paves the way for the widespread adoption of green hydrogen as a clean energy solution on a global scale.