Masterplan Hydrogen City cuxhaven

Final Report 01-2023



One of the most important goals and challenges in the coming years is the transformation of the economy from the use of fossil energy and energy sources, to a green and sustainable economy. This can only succeed if ambitious goals are set to bring about this necessary change. It is precisely this change and transformation that the city of Cuxhaven is taking on and is underlining this process with the claim to be a

"climate and energy transition city - Cuxhaven".


But in order to define these goals and to determine opportunities and possibilities, a plan, a vision, and last but not least a guideline is needed, which sets an agenda, which determines every day the action. This booklet is the now available "Hydrogen Master Plan - City of Cuxhaven", which describes these very tasks and at the same time points out opportunities. Not everything is immediately attainable and realizable, however, and quite certainly identical with the daily thought to adapt the economy and especially the Cuxhaven economy, towards a "Green Economy" and the claim of sustainable economic activity. The economy can and will succeed in this and hydrogen will certainly contribute a decisive part to this, so that it was a concern to have this "Hydrogen Master Plan - City of Cuxhaven" created conceptually and to hand it over to the economy as a guideline and working paper. Concrete recommendations for action from this paper put the economic partners directly in a position to draw necessary conclusions and to transfer them into their daily actions. With this report, I am pleased to bring the city of Cuxhaven and the economy of the city of Cuxhaven closer to the topic of hydrogen and to understand hydrogen as an opportunity for change.


Hydrogen based on renewable energies will play a key role in a future energy system that is based on renewable energies and, in accordance with the commitments of the Paris Climate Agreement, the European Green Deal and, in Germany, the Climate Protection Act, must be completely greenhouse gas neutral throughout Europe by 2050 and throughout Germany by 2045.


As an important link, hydrogen enables volatile (fluctuating) renewable wind and solar energy to be used as needed. By converting and storing the irregularly generated electricity in the form of hydrogen, it can be used as needed in material or energy form (electricity/heat) downstream. In this way, the use of green hydrogen and its derivatives can be used in the future to decarbonize sectors that are currently still dependent on fossil fuels and cannot be directly electrified. These include, above all, the steel and chemical industries as well as parts of the transport and heating sectors. Here, hydrogen has a justification and is the necessary means to an end. It is important to note that it is not a question of using hydrogen per se as a generally valid substitute for fossil fuels, but rather precisely where fossil fuels cannot be replaced by direct use of electricity or where the hydrogen molecule serves as a basic material.


Against this background, the topic of hydrogen has gained massive importance in recent years. The world's major economies are currently discussing possible courses of action, preparing appropriate measures and adopting targeted hydrogen strategies. At the end of 2017, Japan became the first country in the world to present a national hydrogen strategy. More than 33 other countries followed suit and published a hydrogen strategy by September 2022. In July 2020, the European Union presented its own hydrogen strategy for a climate-neutral Europe. More than half of these strategies have specific targets for expanding electrolyzer capacities. These are to add up to 88 gigawatts by 2030.


Countries are focusing on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, diversifying their energy sources and improving security of supply. Many governments, such as those of South Korea, Germany, the Netherlands and Australia, also expect economic benefits from the use of the alternative energy carrier through the development of a national hydrogen economy, job creation or hydrogen and technology exports. To promote the ramp-up, the majority of countries are focusing in the short to medium term on different ways of producing hydrogen, including the use of fossil-derived gray hydrogen (for example, using conventional natural gas), as well as blue hydrogen produced from fossil fuels under carbon capture and storage (CCS). In the long term, however, the focus of most hydrogen strategies, especially in the EU, is on the use of green hydrogen based on renewable energies.


The recommendations for action resulting from the report "Hydrogen Master Plan" are a first approach to implement the topic of hydrogen centrally, but also decentrally for Cuxhaven, as well as to consolidate the activities already started on the topic of hydrogen.


Recommendation: Ensure political backing in the region


For the development of regional networks and a regional sustainable future concept of economy and society as well as its implementation, the support of local politics is an important criterion for success. The associated tasks and projects can be carried out and implemented more easily and efficiently if politics pursues the same goals and is "on board".


In this sense, "local politics" includes:

- at the municipal level/county level: city council/city councillors/municipal council members, county council, county council members, mayors

- various committees: Urban planning, agriculture, tourism, transport, environment, etc.

- administrative heads of the departments and offices involved


Recommendation: Further consolidate and expand DOIZ and port as a basic building block


DOIZ is considered an important component of the port of Cuxhaven and local value creation. The strengthening of the location and the expansion of the infrastructure is a basic building block for the settlement of further companies.


Recommendation: Use mobility to drive forward the regional hydrogen economy in Cuxhaven


Decisive for the ramp-up of the hydrogen economy in Cuxhaven is not only the supply of hydrogen on site, but also the securing of the off-take. In particular, the public transport or mobility sector can provide initial planning security here and at the same time make a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This includes the conversion of public transport to hydrogen-powered vehicles, the use of additional hydrogen trains on non-electrified sections of the route, and the supply of compressed hydrogen to the first ferries in order to drive decarbonization on the water side as well. To supply the DOIZ onshore with materials, parts and modules for production, an initial conversion of logistics to hydrogen-powered vehicles and CO₂-neutral logistics could take place.


Recommendation: Establishment of hydrogen processing industry and provision of hydrogen-based synthesis products - especially as marine fuel


In order to use locally produced or sea landed hydrogen (on a large scale) in the marine sector, a hydrogen processing industry is needed to provide hydrogen-based fuels, such as ammonia or methanol. These could be used in ocean-going shipping due to their higher energy density.


Recommendation: Construction of large storage facilities for hydrogen or construction of a bunkering station for hydrogen and its synthesis products.


Storage facilities are needed for the intermediate storage of hydrogen for use in line with demand and decoupled in time from production or delivery. Here, the use of caverns is particularly suitable for large storage volumes. In this context, Cuxhaven and the surrounding area have several salt and clay rock layers running underground, which could provide large-volume storage facilities once they have been explored. These would allow Cuxhaven to store hydrogen on a large scale and make it available as needed.



The downstream synthesis to ammonia or methanol (see recommendation 4) and the subsequent bunkering of ships (fuel and/or cargo) shows great potential for Cuxhaven and it is recommended to establish a corresponding bunkering option (if necessary bunker station).


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