Uniper, German partners teaming up for Bad Lauchstädt green hydrogen lab

Image credit Uniper

German-based power generation developer Uniper and partners have gained 34 million Euros ($40.2M U.S.) in federal funding for a green hydrogen study project.

The German Federal Ministory for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) announced the award for the VNG joint project to study green hydrogen production in Saxony-Anhalt. Hydrogen itself does not contain a carbon atom but can only considered “green” if it is created by electrolysis powered by other carbon-free resources such as solar, wind or nuclear.

“After the BMWi declared the project to be a real laboratory worthy of funding as part of the two-stage application process as early as 2019, those responsible for the consortium of companies involved have in the meantime fleshed out the plans and pressed ahead with them,” Cornelia Müller-Pagel, head of the project in the consortium and head of “Green Gases” at VNG, said in a statement. “We are very happy to now hold the long-awaited decision in our hands and to finally be able to get down to the actual work. With this showcase project, we want to demonstrate together that the industrial use of green hydrogen is absolutely possible and makes economic sense.”

The Bad Lauchstädt Energy Park partners seeks to investigate the production, storage, transport, and economic use of green hydrogen under real conditions on an industrial scale. Project partners include Uniper, VNG, renewables developer Terrawatt Planungsgesellschaft, pipeline firm ONTRAs Gastransport GmbH and research institute Gastechologisches, among others.

Construction and development of the first project components should begin this fall.

The aim of the joint project is to map the entire value chain for green hydrogen in southern Saxony-Anhalt. Renewable electricity from a new wind farm to be built will be converted into climate-friendly hydrogen by means of a large-scale electrolysis plant with a capacity of around 30 megawatts and supplied to the chemical industry in neighbouring Leuna via a 20-kilometer pipeline to be redirected by ONTRAS.

To this end, hydrogen production and hydrogen transport as well as central components of hydrogen storage such as efficient gas purification and safety technology will initially be further developed and tested from fall 2021. In the second phase, the salt cavern planned for hydrogen storage, which will be almost 180 meters high, is to be completed and integrated into the value chain from 2026. The project has a total investment volume of around €140 million ($165.6M U.S.).

Earlier this month, Uniper signed a deal with Port of Rotterham Authority to develop green hydrogen at Uniper’s plant on Maasvlakte.

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