Hydrogen regions on the drawing board

Germany is to become a hydrogen country. That is why the Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport is funding so-called “HyExpert” model regions where hydrogen markets and value chains are to be established. IAV and the consulting subsidiary C4D are using their expertise – one project has already been completed and two more have just started.

Christian Buck, October 2022

Between October 2020 and November 2021, experts from IAV and C4D developed a hydrogen strategy for Saarland. The focus was on mobility, steel production and raw products, as well as industrial applications such as intralogistics and process heat. “There have been local working groups before, for example made up of local producers,” says Dr. Ingmar Hartung, head of the Hydrogen Infrastructure and Electrolysis team at IAV. “Our task was to bring together stakeholders in the areas of production, distribution and use and to develop hydrogen business models together with them.”

While IAV contributed its technical understanding, C4D was primarily concerned with economic issues. “In the end, a techno-economic evaluation was created that takes into account numerous influencing factors such as discounting and future energy price scenarios in its model-based scenarios,” explains Marcus Lassowski, Senior Consultant at Consulting4Drive (C4D). “It answers technical questions as well as questions about financing options. But we also give political recommendations for action – and point out, for example, obstacles in licensing law or the lack of interaction between municipal companies.” A roadmap up to 2030 for short, medium, and long-term activities is also part of the assessment.

Vehicle fleets must become climate-friendly

An important topic in all model regions is the use of hydrogen in public vehicle fleets. According to the EU’s “clean vehicle directive”, their operators must verify that at least 45 percent of all newly ordered vehicles are equipped with a climate-friendly drive by 2025 – for example with hydrogen. The evaluation of IAV and C4D therefore also deals with the ranges, costs, operational aspects and financing possibilities of hydrogen vehicles. Meanwhile, the implementation of the recommendations for the Saarland model region is in full swing, and the first concrete projects have been initiated.

During the concept development, existing local initiatives were analyzed on the one hand, and on the other hand, the experts also considered global requirements such as the CO2 savings targets of the federal state or the respective funding possibilities. “We look at both the top-down approaches of politics and the bottom-up solutions of local companies,” says Hartung. “We often act here as a kind of translator.”

Concept for Chemnitz by 2023

IAV and C4D are currently working in the same way with other partners on two projects in Chemnitz and Havelland. The model region of Chemnitz comprises not only the city but also the surrounding districts. In contrast to Saarland, there are less large industrial enterprises and no large hydrogen producer. Everything is more decentralized, which makes balancing supply and demand significantly more difficult.

Since the end of July 2022, IAV and C4D have been working on the concept for the model region in Saxony, whereby the experts benefit from the IAV development center in Chemnitz/Stollberg as well as existing contacts with local automotive suppliers. By the end of September 2023, the experts will present a concept that is tailor-made for Chemnitz and its environment.

In the Havelland model region, the prerequisites are again special: on the one hand, there are many wind power and photovoltaic plants, but on the other hand there are few industrial consumers of hydrogen. However, the region has caverns suitable for hydrogen storage. In addition, the proximity to Berlin and the planned hydrogen pipeline from Rostock to Leuna open sales opportunities. In addition, there are inquiries from freight and rail transport, where shunting locomotives, for example, are to be converted to hydrogen operation. IAV and C4D are investigating how a regional hydrogen economy can be established with these special circumstances by the end of August 2023.

Our expert on the topic

Wolfgang Tschiggfrei