Germany: Engineering One of Germany’s Largest Hydrogen Generation Plants Breaks Ground

Editor: Ahlam Rais

Siemens has plans to build a 8.75 MW carbon-free hydrogen generation plant in Wunsiedel, Germany. The groundbreaking ceremony of this project was attended by the Bavarian Minister-President Dr. Markus Söder. The plant is expected to produce up to 1,350 tons of hydrogen per year using only renewable energy.

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Official groundbreaking for one of Germany’s largest hydrogen production plants and a future hydrogen filling station in northern Bavaria.
Official groundbreaking for one of Germany’s largest hydrogen production plants and a future hydrogen filling station in northern Bavaria.
(Source: Siemens)

Wunsiedel/Germany – The official groundbreaking ceremony in Wunsiedel marked the start of construction of a hydrogen generation plant with a capacity of 8.75 megawatts. The facility will produce up to 1,350 tons of hydrogen per year using only renewable energy, for example from solar or wind power. Using the generated hydrogen in transportation and industry allows for CO 2 savings of up to 13,500 annually.

Siemens Smart Infrastructure is the general contractor for the entire plant, with Siemens Financial Services (SFS) participating in the equity financing as well as holding a share of 45 percent in the operating company WUN H2. The electrolyzer will be supplied by Siemens Energy.

Attended by Dr. Markus Söder, Minister-President of Bavaria; Hubert Aiwanger, Bavarian State Minister of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy; Thorsten Glauber, Bavarian State Minister of Environmental and Consumer Protection Affairs; Professor Dr. Ralf P. Thomas, Chief Financial Officer of Siemens; Dr. Philipp Matthes and Dr. Thilo Rießner, Managing Directors of WUN H2; Nicolas Lahovnik, Mayor of Wunsiedel; Marco Krasser, Managing Director of SWW Wunsiedel; and Andreas Schmuderer, Siemens Project Manager; the groundbreaking ceremony marked the start of construction of this lighthouse project.

Hydrogen production at the Wunsiedel Energy Park in Germany.
Hydrogen production at the Wunsiedel Energy Park in Germany.
(Source: Siemens)

In his remarks, Minister of Economic Affairs Hubert Aiwanger said: “The WUN H2 project is an important contribution to implementing Bavaria’s hydrogen strategy. Green hydrogen ‘Made in Bavaria’ demonstrates domestic technological expertise and increases acceptance through local value creation.”

Hydrogen is a key technology on the road to a climate-neutral future. The energy transition will only succeed if there are many innovative approaches like the one pursued in Wunsiedel.

Thorsten Glauber, Bavarian State Minister of Environmental and Consumer Protection Affairs

According to a recent analysis by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), global energy demand is estimated to increase by 80 percent by 2050. Meeting this demand while addressing the challenges of climate change will require massive investments in clean energy generation, power distribution, and digitalization. To this end, all energy-consuming sectors, including transportation and industry, must push ahead with their decarbonization efforts.

The plant will be constructed at the Wunsiedel Energy Park and be connected to the existing Siemens battery storage facility and adjacent industrial enterprises. These can use waste heat, or the oxygen split off during electrolysis. This connected infrastructure will serve as a model for the whole of Germany.

Dr. Markus Söder, Minister-President of Bavaria
Dr. Markus Söder, Minister-President of Bavaria
(Source: Siemens)

“Converting our energy supply to new, climate-neutral energy sources is one of the main objectives of the energy transition. Hydrogen plays a key role in this,” said Siemens CFO Professor Dr. Ralf P. Thomas at the groundbreaking ceremony. “In this respect, Wunsiedel, with its existing distributed energy system and the use of digital technology, is a lighthouse project for a sustainable energy future.” For Siemens, digitalization and sustainability are increasingly becoming the focus of business activities.

For the project in Wunsiedel, SFS, the financing arm of Siemens, is in charge of commercial project development and structuring the financing. SFS holds a 45 percent share in the project’s operating company WUN H2; Rießner Gase also holds 45 percent and Stadtwerke Wunsiedel (SWW) the remaining 10 percent.

“WUN H2 is a pilot project for Germany that will demonstrate innovative technology in practice and ultimately prove the feasibility of industrial production of green hydrogen. Our concept is scalable and can easily be transferred to other locations. If every city had its own H2 plant, the energy transition would already be much further along,” said Dr. Philipp Matthes, Managing Director of WUN H2.

Professor Dr. Ralf P. Thomas, Chief Financial Officer of Siemens
Professor Dr. Ralf P. Thomas, Chief Financial Officer of Siemens
(Source: Siemens)

The Wunsiedel plant uses Siemens Energy’s most advanced electrolyzer. “Green hydrogen plays a crucial role, especially in the decarbonization of industries and the transportation sector,” said Dr. Christian Bruch, CEO of Siemens Energy. “With our latest generation of electrolyzers, we are continuing to commercialize this technology. The plant not only supplies green hydrogen from renewable energy sources, it also makes full use of the resulting byproducts, oxygen and waste heat.”

The hydrogen is delivered via truck trailers to local and regional end customers for local distribution, mainly in the regions of Upper Franconia, Upper Palatinate, Thuringia and Saxony as well as Western Bohemia (Czech Republic). The plant also helps alleviate grid bottlenecks and provides flexibility for the power grid.

The option to build a public hydrogen filling station for trucks and buses at the same location will make it possible to create an offering for carbon-free heavy goods transportation as well as regional public transportation. “Thanks to our ‘Wunsiedler Weg’ concept, we’re ideally positioned to achieve climate neutrality. Hydrogen technology will position Wunsiedel as a model city for the energy future far beyond the region, and indeed beyond Bavaria,” said Wunsiedel Mayor Nicolas Lahovnik. “This allows us to create new and sustainable forms of energy use for our residents.”

The new hydrogen production plant is scheduled to go into operation in the summer of 2022.

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