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30 Jan 2020, 13:21
Sören Amelang

German econ min calls for large-scale green hydrogen production in highly anticipated strategy - report

Der Spiegel / Clean Energy Wire

Germany should have industrial-scale electrolysers with a capacity of 3 to 5 gigawatts (GW) in order to make renewable hydrogen at its disposal within 10 years, according to the economy ministry's draft proposal for the country's highly anticipated hydrogen strategy. The paper also calls for 20 percent of the hydrogen used in Germany to be made with renewables by 2030, reported Der Spiegel, which saw the draft. The strategy, which still needs to be coordinated with other ministries, would aim to make Germany a "global pioneer" in the technology, which is considered key for a successful energy transition. The highly anticipated plans for a "hydrogen economy" are set to be published in the coming weeks. The strategy proposal would prioritise the build-up of hydrogen filling stations and supplying industry, according to the Spiegel report. Germany will have to import the bulk of hydrogen for future demand because it won't have enough renewable electricity to make sufficient amounts. The strategy calls for the establishment of "energy partnerships" with countries that can generate the necessary amounts  – for example African countries with lots of sunshine.
In another sign of the country's hydrogen ambitions, Germany, the Netherlands and the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia said they would jointly explore the possibilities to generate green hydrogen on an industrial scale. The trio commissioned a feasibility study that will look into establishing a "transnational value chain for green hydrogen from the North Sea to industrial clusters in the border area of the Netherlands and North Rhine-Westphalia," according to a press release by the economy ministry (BMWi). 

Stressing hydrogen technology’s importance for a successful energy transition, effective climate action and the future of German industry, the government has called for the country to secure a global leadership role in the sector. Germany aims to be climate-neutral by 2050 and will have to replace natural gas in its energy mix, for example with hydrogen, which could eventually become carbon-free if made with renewable power using electrolysis. Germany's steel and chemical industries are also betting heavily on the use of green hydrogen in their long-term decarbonisation plans.

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