The start of one of Germany’s major green hydrogen projects: The official groundbreaking ceremony in Wunsiedel marked the start of construction on an 8.75 megawatt hydrogen producing plant.
The facility will generate up to 1,350 tons of hydrogen per year entirely from renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind. Utilizing hydrogen generated in transportation and industry results in CO 2 savings of up to 13,500 pounds per year.
Siemens Smart Infrastructure is the general contractor for the entire plant, with Siemens Financial Services (SFS) financing the project and owning a 45 percent stake in the operational firm WUN H2 GmbH. Siemens Energy will supply the electrolyzer. Dr. Markus Söder, Bavarian Minister-President, Hubert Aiwanger, Bavarian State Minister of Economic Affairs, Regional Development, and Energy, Thorsten Glauber, Bavarian State Minister of Environmental and Consumer Protection Affairs, Professor Dr. Ralf P. Thomas, Siemens Chief Financial Officer, Dr. Philipp Matthes and Dr. Thilo Rießner, WUN H2 Managing Directors, and Nicolas Lahov were in attendance.
In his remarks, Minister of Economic Affairs Hubert Aiwanger said: “The WUN H2 project is an important contribution to implementing Bavaria’s hydrogen strategy. Green hydrogen ‘Made in Bavaria’ demonstrates domestic technological expertise and increases acceptance through local value creation.” Minister of Environmental Affairs Thorsten Glauber added: “Hydrogen is a key technology on the road to a climate-neutral future. The energy transition will only succeed if there are many innovative approaches like the one pursued in Wunsiedel.”
“Converting our energy supply to new, climate-neutral energy sources is one of the main objectives of the energy transition. Hydrogen plays a key role in this,” said Siemens CFO Professor Dr. Ralf P. Thomas at the groundbreaking ceremony. “In this respect, Wunsiedel, with its existing distributed energy system and the use of digital technology, is a lighthouse project for a sustainable energy future.” For Siemens, digitalization and sustainability are increasingly becoming the focus of business activities. At an event for investors, Siemens had presented its new “Degree” framework for sustainable commitment to environmental, social and governance issues.
SFS, Siemens’ financial arm, is responsible for commercial project development and structuring the financing for the Wunsiedel project. SFS owns 45% of the project’s operational firm, WUN H2; Rießner Gase GmbH owns 45%, and Stadtwerke Wunsiedel (SWW) owns the remaining 10%. Simultaneously, SFS was able to finance the project without recourse to the shareholders, using UmweltBank as an external lender.
“WUN H2 is a pilot project for Germany that will demonstrate innovative technology in practice and ultimately prove the feasibility of industrial production of green hydrogen. Our concept is scalable and can easily be transferred to other locations. If every city had its own H2 plant, the energy transition would already be much further along,” said Dr. Philipp Matthes, Managing Director of WUN H2 GmbH.
“Green hydrogen plays a crucial role, especially in the decarbonization of industries and the transportation sector,” said Dr. Christian Bruch, CEO of Siemens Energy AG. “With our latest generation of electrolyzers, we are continuing to commercialize this technology. The plant not only supplies green hydrogen from renewable energy sources, it also makes full use of the resulting byproducts, oxygen and waste heat.”
Hydrogen is distributed locally by truck trailers to local and regional end users, mostly in Upper Franconia, Upper Palatinate, Thuringia, and Saxony, as well as Western Bohemia (Czech Republic). Additionally, the plant assists in alleviating grid congestion and provides grid flexibility. The potential to install a public hydrogen filling station for trucks and buses at the same location enables the creation of a carbon-neutral heavy goods transportation and regional public transportation offering.
“Thanks to our ‘Wunsiedler Weg’ concept, we’re ideally positioned to achieve climate neutrality. Hydrogen technology will position Wunsiedel as a model city for the energy future far beyond the region, and indeed beyond Bavaria,” said Wunsiedel Mayor Nicolas Lahovnik. “This allows us to create new and sustainable forms of energy use for our residents.”
The new hydrogen manufacturing facility is slated to open in the summer of 2022.