Climate Change

Industry joins forces with science to turn Ruhr into model region for hydrogen economy

Industry joins forces with science to make Ruhr a pioneering region for a successful energy transition hydrogen

Photo: RWE

Published

September 6, 2021

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Published:

September 6, 2021

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Eight companies and institutions are working on solutions to supply the industry and residents of the Ruhr in Germany with CO2-free hydrogen to develop standards for a hydrogen economy in industrial conurbations.

Energy companies E.ON, and RWE, chemicals firm Evonik, steelmaker ThyssenKrupp and real-estate company Vonovia intend to develop a cross-sectoral development plan for hydrogen infrastructure and production in Germany together with the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion, the RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research and the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Foundation.

The aim is to make the Ruhr a pioneering region for a successful energy transition, and a model hydrogen region

The companies and institutions said a plan for a model hydrogen region is to be developed in the Ruhr, one of the country’s main industrial areas.

They aim to connect pioneering solutions from the industry, energy sector, mobility, and housing for the area to undergo a  successful energy transformation.

Pilot projects will be established to provide at least 50% of necessary hydrogen by 2030

They want the Ruhr region to become a model hydrogen region – with a holistic, cross-sectoral development plan for hydrogen production and infrastructure. Pilot projects under development are planned to provide at least 50% of the fuel required per year by 2030 at the latest.

“No other German region has a better starting position to solve this task: with unique connections across all sectors, synergies in the generation, storage, distribution, and consumption can be leveraged in the Ruhr region. The conditions for developing a comprehensive hydrogen infrastructure are ideal,” the participants said.

Innovative ecosystems are needed to help achieve a breakthrough in energy transformation and toward climate neutrality

Ursula Gather, Chairwoman of the Board of Trustees of the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Foundation, said the green transformation could only succeed at scale through innovation across value chains. Innovative ecosystems are needed to help achieve a breakthrough in energy transformation and toward climate neutrality.

Energy company E.ON has pledged to reduce its CO2 emissions by 65% by 2030. It means building up the electricity and hydrogen infrastructure at record speed and developing efficient systems to combine the electricity, hydrogen, and heat sectors intelligently, Chairman of the Board of Management Leo Birnbaum said.

We in the Ruhr region are best placed to become pioneers – RWE CEO

Markus Krebber, CEO of RWE, said there is no alternative to green power and hydrogen for the decarbonization of many industries.

“We in the Ruhr region are best placed to become pioneers: Strong companies, well trained and motivated employees, and now also a strong partnership. RWE is contributing its entire expertise in this area. If we work together to keep the pace up, we can make the region a winner,” he said.

According to Christoph Schmidt, President of RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research, the Ruhr region is particularly suitable as a model because all the sectors relevant to the green transformation are present and close together, and they operate with one another in many cases.

The economic and socially compatible integration of hydrogen is a major challenge – Vonovia CEO

Rolf Buch, CEO of Vonovia, said the next German government would have the topics of climate protection, hydrogen, and renewable energy high on its list of priorities because the energy transformation can only be successfully shaped with a mix of different energy systems and technologies.

A major challenge for all those involved lies in the economic and socially compatible integration of hydrogen, Buch explained.

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