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20 Aug 2020, 13:01
Sören Amelang

German power costs prevent domestic green hydrogen projects - startup Sunfire

Clean Energy Wire / Focus Online

The relatively high costs of renewable electricity in Germany prevent innovative projects green hydrogen in the country, according to hydrogen start-up Sunfire. "As long as the issue of taxes and levies on renewable electricity hasn't been solved, there won't be projects like ours," Sunfire's chief commercial officer (CCO) Nils Aldag told Focus Online with reference to a Sunfire plant in Norway that pays less than a quarter of German prices. "Germany makes power too expensive," Aldag added. 

Aldag said his company was "not quite" happy with Germany's national hydrogen strategy that was unveiled in June because the proposals were not concrete enough. "They touch the right issues like the renewables levy and the right industries are mentioned. But the strategy does not describe in more detail which adjustments should be made by when in order to actually achieve the goal -- so basically all we have today is a nice declaration of intent." The next challenge for the company is to move from the research and development stage to industrialisation, Aldag said. "For this we need growth capital and the support of old industries such as the automotive sector, which are strong in mass production and can join us when it comes to moving from small to large quantities," he added.

Sunfire is a member of the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance, an industry group that includes leading players such as Bosch, Siemens and SSAB as well as policymakers and representatives from civil society. Hydrogen made with renewable electricity is increasingly seen as a silver bullet for sectors with particularly stubborn emissions, such as heavy industry and aviation. Germany has set out to become a global leader in the associated technologies, and the government's strategy describes how it plans to fulfil this ambition.

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