Scientists and politicians were looking for new paths in the energy industry even before the diesel scandal. Fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas, and coal will also be in limited supply in the
future. Hydrogen is a potential solution for the continuing energy debate. It enjoys great interest worldwide as a future technology since it is virtually emission-free. However, a lot of energy
is required to split off the molecule H2. The Federal Government wants to develop a national hydrogen strategy before the end of 2020 since the infrastructure and storage capacities required for
further expansion of this technology are still lacking.
However, full transition from a fossil fuel based economy to CO2-free energy sources also require larger and more ambitious steps. Optimisation and interlinking of energy use in the three energy sectors of electricity, heat, and transport must be promoted in order to achieve the decarbonisation goal for full implementation of energy transformation. Hydrogen can use its strengths as a fuel for electricity generation, heating, and more environmentally sustainable mobility. Technologies like power-to-heat, power-to-gas, or the fuel cell create synergies between the industries. Industry coupling, therefore, is the key to a full energy transformation.
Significantly higher amounts of hydrogen need to be produced in the future, based on renewable electricity, for the new planned applications of hydrogen. In the interest of sustainable development, established structures and available location benefits should be used to establish a green hydrogen economy and efficiently implement the energy transformation. Northern Germany is ready to become a pioneer in the development of a green hydrogen economy. The area already sports a large supply of renewable energies, a high number of wind turbines, and further potential for solar and wind energy (on- and offshore).
Cuxhaven has also picked up the subject of hydrogen, aiming to establish a hydrogen economy as a central component of developing a decarbonised economy. The Agentur für Wirtschaftsförderung commissioned Hydrogentle GmbH from Hamburg with drawing up a “Concept for the utilisation of hydrogen in Cuxhaven and the Elbe-Weser region” in 2018 to create a stable storage and utilisation basis for the hydrogen economy in Cuxhaven. The document is subject to continuous updates.
In early 2020, the Agentur für Wirtschaftsförderung had Kongstein compile a supplementary position paper on the “Further development of the hydrogen strategy for Cuxhaven”. It examines the opportunities and risks of a future hydrogen economy in Cuxhaven more closely and defines specific projects.
For the long-term success of the energy transition, alternatives to fossil fuels are needed: hydrogen will play a key role as a versatile energy carrier. Hydrogen produced in a climate-friendly manner makes it possible to significantly reduce CO2 emissions, especially in industry and transportation, where energy efficiency and the direct use of electricity from renewable sources are not sufficient.
Against this background, the high seas island Heligoland could become a hub for hydrogen produced from offshore wind. By 2035, offshore wind turbines with a capacity of 10,000 MW are to be built between Heligoland and the Doggerbank sandbar. The electricity will be used to produce hydrogen on the high seas and transported to the mainland by pipeline.
In the meantime, a strong consortium has been formed for this visionary project, which has now come together in the Aqua Ventus e.V. funding association: 27 highly innovative organizations and research institutes as well as internationally leading companies active in the production of green hydrogen at sea make up this team of experts. The founding members also include the city of Cuxhaven, which with its German Offshore-Industry-Center-Cuxhaven can offer an optimal infrastructure for the handling and transport of hydrogen.