Siemens commissions one of the largest green hydrogen production plants in Germany


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

Daniel Karmann | Image Alliance | Getty Images

A green hydrogen plant described as one of the largest in Germany has opened, and industrial giant Siemens says it will produce 1,350 tons of hydrogen each year.

In a statement Wednesday, Siemens said the facility would use wind and solar power from the Wunsiedel Energy Park in Upper Franconia.

The hydrogen is produced with an 8.75 megawatt electrolyzer. Siemens said the hydrogen will mainly be used “in the region’s industrial and commercial enterprises, as well as in road transport.”

After the commissioning, Siemens said that the transfer of the plant to WUN H2, its operator, had taken place. Siemens Financial Services has a 45% stake in WUN H2. Riessner Gase and Stadtwerke Wunsiedel, a utility company, have stakes of 45% and 10% respectively.

“Talks are already underway to expand the plant’s capacity to 17.5 megawatts,” said Siemens.

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

It can be produced in different ways. One method involves the use of electrolysis, in which an electric current splits water into oxygen and hydrogen.

If the electricity used in this process comes from a renewable source such as wind or solar, 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 expressed support for hydrogen during her State of the Union address.

Translated in comments on the Commission’s website, von der Leyen said that “hydrogen could be a game changer for Europe. We need to move our hydrogen economy from niche to scale.”

In her speech, von der Leyen also referred to a “target for 2030 to produce 10 million tons of renewable hydrogen in the EU every year”.

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

To this end, EU leader von der Leyen also announced the creation of a European Hydrogen Bank. With this it is hoped to be able to invest 3 billion euros (2.99 billion dollars) to support the future market for hydrogen.

In recent years, a number of multinationals have tried to set a mark in the green hydrogen sector. Within Germany itself, oil and gas giant Shell announced last year that a 10 MW electrolyzer has been commissioned.

In July 2022, it was announced that plans 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 commence in 2025.

According to the company, the 200 MW electrolyzer will be located in the Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest seaport, and will generate as much as 60,000 kilograms of renewable hydrogen every day.

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

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

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