Siemens puts German production plant into operation

A Siemens logo in Germany. The industrial giant says a recently commissioned green hydrogen plant in the country will use wind and solar power from the Wunsiedel energy park.

Daniel Karman | Image Alliance | Getty Images

A green hydrogen generation plant described as one of the largest in Germany is open, with industrial giant Siemens saying it will produce 1,350 tonnes of hydrogen each year.

In a statement on Wednesday, Siemens said the facility would use wind and solar energy from the Wunsiedel energy park in Upper Franconia.

The hydrogen will be produced using an 8.75 megawatt electrolyser. Siemens said the hydrogen would primarily be used “in industrial and commercial enterprises in the region, but also in road transport”.

Following its commissioning, Siemens indicated that a handover of the plant to WUN H2, its operator, had taken place. Siemens Financial Services holds a 45% stake in WUN H2. Riessner Gase and Stadtwerke Wunsiedel, a public utility, hold 45% and 10% of the shares respectively.

“Discussions regarding the expansion of the plant’s capacity to 17.5 megawatts are already underway,” Siemens said.

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Described by the International Energy Agency as a “versatile energy carrier”, hydrogen has a diverse range of applications and can be deployed in a wide range of industries.

It can be produced in several ways. One method is to use electrolysis, with an electric current splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen.

If the electricity used in this process comes from a renewable source such as wind or solar power, some call it “green” or “renewable” hydrogen. Today, the vast majority of hydrogen production is based on fossil fuels.

“A game changer for Europe”

Siemens’ announcement came on the same day that European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen voiced her support for hydrogen during her State of the Union address.

In remarks translated on the Commission’s website, von der Leyen said, “Hydrogen can be a game-changer for Europe. We need to take our hydrogen economy from niche to scale.” .

In his speech, von der Leyen also referred to a “2030 target of producing ten million tonnes of renewable hydrogen in the EU, every year”.

“To achieve this, we need to create a market maker for hydrogen, to bridge the investment gap and connect future supply and demand,” she said.

To this end, von der Leyen of the EU also announced the creation of a European hydrogen bank. It is hoped that this can invest 3 billion euros ($2.99 ​​billion) to support the future hydrogen market.

For several years, several multinational firms have been trying to set a milestone in the green hydrogen sector. In Germany itself, oil and gas giant Shell announced last year that a 10 MW electrolyser had started operations.

In July 2022, it was announced that the project to build a large hydrogen plant in the Netherlands would go ahead following a final investment decision by Shell subsidiaries.

In a statement at the time, Shell said the Holland Hydrogen I facility would be “Europe’s largest renewable hydrogen plant” when operations begin in 2025.

According to the company, the 200 MW electrolyser will be located in the Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest seaport, generating up to 60,000 kilograms of renewable hydrogen every day.

In June this year, another oil and gas supermajor, BP, announced that it had agreed to take a 40.5% stake in the Asian Renewable Energy Hub, a massive project planned in Australia.

BP said it would become the operator of the development, adding that it had “the potential to be one of the largest renewable energy and green hydrogen centers in the world”.

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