Germany is betting on hydrogen: Hamburg will build the world’s largest plant

The largest hydrogen plant in the world will be built in the city of Hamburg, with a capacity of 1,000 MW.

Germany’s leadership in renewable energy is well known. But it doesn’t reduce to this alone. The country’s industry also works in other alternative ways to store energy production. One of them is hydrogen.

This gas under pressure acts as an energy vector. It can be used to store and transport energy, when the network cannot absorb more. In the city of Hamburg, in northwestern Germany, it has been proposed to build the largest hydrogen plant in the world. It will generate this fuel by electrolysis, that is, the breakdown of water molecules.

In this way, hydrogen production will be harmless to the environment, contrary to what happens in methane reforming. In the latter case the use of a hydrocarbon implies the emission of CO2 into the atmosphere. But with water the only residue is oxygen.

In Germany they have already tested the possibilities of hydrogen as fuel. It was in this country where the first hydrogen train was launched last year. Also in the state of Bavaria, the largest in the country, a hydrogen research center has been established. An industrial alliance, which includes giants such as BMW or Siemens, supports the initiative.

The facilities to be built in Hamburg will be able to produce 22,000 cubic meters of hydrogen per hour. This amount is equivalent to what a car would need to move for 200,000 kilometers. The necessary energy input for electrolysis will be made with wind turbines. It is a plan that has already been contemplated previously in other countries, such as Denmark, where it was planned to store excess production in this fuel.

hydrogen cars

Combine renewable and hydrogen

The world’s largest hydrogen plant will cost hundreds of millions of euros. The city hopes to make a final decision about its installation at the end of 2019, which could take place in the port of the city.

Hydrogen can be a fundamental part in the energy transition. Fossil fuel alternatives do not only go through renewable energy. The combination of wind and solar allows to maintain the electrical network assorted in a general way, because when one of them flojea (at night the solar is nonexistent), the other grows in power. But a storage system will always be necessary to avoid network crashes.

With regard to storage systems, giant lithium-ion batteries have positioned themselves as one of the options. But hydrogen is a very important alternative.

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