A strong hydrogen region
To ensure Hamburg’s transition towards a sustainable future economy, the city is striving to decarbonise industry and to build a green hydrogen economy together with its partners.
A strong hydrogen region
Northern Germany and Hamburg are particularly well-suited to the development of a green hydrogen economy, which has also been confirmed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). As well as offering unique locational advantages for the production and storage of renewable energies, the region also holds great potential in terms of hydrogen demand – especially from local industry. Hamburg thus plays a key role in meeting Germany’s climate protection goals and in ensuring the success of the energy transition in Germany. What is more, the port of Hamburg is an ideal logistics hub for importing and distributing green hydrogen across Germany and Europe. Today, Hamburg is home to various hydrogen-related projects and solutions along the entire value chain, demonstrating that decarbonisation of industry and the development of a green hydrogen economy are top priorities in Hamburg.
The Hamburg Hydrogen Network and its members
To accelerate the transition process, twelve Hamburg-based stakeholders have joined forces to establish the Hamburg Hydrogen Network (Wasserstoffverbund Hamburg). The founding members are Airbus, ArcelorMittal, Gasnetz Hamburg, GreenPlug, Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA), Hamburg Port Authority, HADAG Seetouristik und Fährdienst as well as Stadtreinigung Hamburg and the Green Hydrogen Hub, which comprises Shell, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Wärme Hamburg.
The green hydrogen produced by the Green Hydrogen Hub will be mainly used to replace fossil fuels in industrial production as well as in the transport and logistics sectors. In addition to the use of hydrogen, the use of waste heat from electrolysis for the district heating grid and the thermal treatment of municipal waste will also contribute to reducing the ecological footprint of several other industries too.
The foundations for establishing a comprehensive hydrogen value chain in Hamburg are being laid through the scheduled conversion of a coal power plant in the Moorburg quarter into a scalable 100-megawatt electrolysis facility for the production of green hydrogen from renewable energies. Hamburg’s port, Europe's largest industrial area, with its extensive network of potential industrial applications and service partners, provides a unique local platform for this.
The Hamburg Hydrogen Network is part of a large-scale campaign initiated by the German government. As part of the campaign, a total of 62 hydrogen projects are being supported nationwide. The campaign is jointly funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs, the Federal Ministry of Transport and the federal states to the tune of 8 billion euro. Of this, 520 million euro are being allocated to Hamburg-based projects, with a total investment volume of 1.6 billion euro earmarked for the region.
Current projects include:
Green Hydrogen Hub
At the site of the former Moorburg power plant, the four partners are planning to jointly produce hydrogen from wind and solar power and utilise it in the vicinity. In addition to creating a scalable electrolyser with an initial output of 100 megawatts, it is also intended to develop the site into a green energy hub at a later stage.
With its ZEROe aircraft project, Airbus aims to reduce aviation-induced emissions on a sustainable basis. The ZEROe project comprises the construction of a hydrogen-powered commercial aircraft prototype, while the larger concept – Hydrogen for Aviation Infrastructure and Production in Northern Germany (WIPLiN) – includes the systematic expansion of hydrogen infrastructure as a whole.
As part of the “H2 for Hamburg” (H2H) project, the ArcelorMittal plant in Hamburg is to be converted to climate-neutral steel production in four steps by 2030. This includes the construction of a hydrogen demo plant for the direct reduction of iron ore (H2First) and the technological conversion of the existing direct reduction plant (H2Ready) to replace the use of natural gas with green hydrogen in the long term. With the production of “green steel”, the company aims to facilitate the reduction of CO2 emissions in the supply chain.
Hamburger Hafen und Logistik (HHLA)
With its Hydrogen Logistics Applications & Distribution (H2LOAD) project, the port and logistics company HHLA is planning to put various types of fuel cell heavy-duty vehicles into operation at its terminal in Hamburg. These include e.g. straddle carriers, trucks, terminal tractors, forklift trucks, empty container handlers, reach stackers and a shunting locomotive.
Hamburg Port Authority
With its Hydrogen Port Applications (HyPA) project, the Hamburg Port Authority is dedicated to two priority areas as infrastructure provider and enabler for roads, railways and waterways in the port of Hamburg. Thus, the transition of mobility towards a post-carbon era is focused on providing hydrogen fuelling stations for locomotives, ships and trucks on the one hand and on the construction and deployment of innovative hydrogen-powered ships on the other.
Hamburg’s gas grid operator intends to create a secure supply infrastructure for the hydrogen needs of Hamburg’s local industry as part of a nationwide and European network by 2030. The Hamburg Hydrogen Industry Network (HH-WIN) venture comprises several joint projects, and hydrogen infrastructure is the main link between all of these. The venture is being developed and implemented step by step and in a demand-oriented manner.
Beyond these high-profile projects, there are many other large and small hydrogen projects currently taking shape in Hamburg. These include e.g. hydrogen-driven luggage transporters at the airport, refuse collection vehicles by Stadtreinigung Hamburg and HADAG port ferries as well as local buses equipped with fuel cells.
HY-5 Hydrogen Alliance
The federal states of Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and the city states of Hamburg and Bremen have joined forces to form the HY-5 Hydrogen Alliance. Initiated by the Northern German Chamber of Industry and Commerce, this local initiative is backed by the five economic development organisations of the above states. The aim is to turn Northern Germany into the strongest region for green hydrogen in the heart of Europe. To achieve this, the stakeholders involved are developing relevant solutions along the entire value chain of green hydrogen.