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27 Aug 2019, 13:10
Benjamin Wehrmann

Northern German states plan hydrogen initiative to optimise wind power use

NDR

Germany's northern coastal states are set to expand their efforts to bring hydrogen production from wind power to an industrial scale and better use the turbines' energy potential, public broadcaster NDR reports. The idea is to use on- and offshore turbines that do not have to be connected to the grid and to produce hydrogen on site, possibly by using small islands banked up right next to the installations. Lower Saxony's environment minister, Olaf Lies, said this would not reduce the pressure to also build transmission lines that transfer the north's wind power to industrial centres in southern Germany, however. "We need both. Consistent expansion of all power lines and hydrogen technology," Lies said, calling on the federal government to ease licensing and building regulations due to grid overload concerns in northern states. Enak Ferlemann, state secretary in the federal transport ministry, added that consumers do not demand the still rather expensive technology, as the focus was put on electric mobility. He proposed that local communities should start by buying hydrogen buses instead of diesel or electric buses.

Hydrogen production with renewable power is seen as a possible solution to one of the greatest challenges of renewable power production as it allows the production of synthetic renewable fuel at times of low electricity demand which can be stored and later used in vehicles or for other purposes. While the direct use of renewable electricity is generally preferred because a lot of energy is lost when converting it to make synthetic hydrogen or methane, power-to-x fuels will likely be needed for specific applications, such as heavy-duty truck transport or as energy storage. The German government is expected to decide on a hydrogen strategy by the end of the year.

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