Almost 200 attendees from politics, administrative bodies, research and associations attended the “Efficient and emission-free - expansion of hydrogen and fuel cell applications” conference that was held at the Hotel am See in Salzgitter. The companies Alstom, Airbus, Meyer Werft, Salzgitter AG and Volkswagen presented their activities in hydrogen and fuel cell technology.
These technologies are playing an important role in the future decarbonization of the energy supply and the traffic sector and are consequently contributing to achieving the German government’s climate objectives. The possible applications cover all economic sectors and transport modes, from roads to water and rails to aviation.
Salzgitter AG presented the project "GrInHy – Green Industrial Hydrogen via reversible high-temperature electrolysis". The project started in 2015 and has been funded by the EU since early 2016. As a part of the GrInHy project, research is conducted with international partners on new hydrogen production methods, which could contribute to CO2-reduced steel manufacturing in the future.
Until now, the options for harnessing renewable energies in the integrated steel works have been limited. Generating hydrogen with the aid of electricity from such sources may emerge as an option that can also be used in the various stages of steel production. At the same time, this opens up the possibility of lowering CO2 emissions, although this is not economically viable under today’s framework conditions.
A core component in GrInHy is construction of one of the world’s most powerful reversible high-temperature electrolysers (HTE), as well as its operation in an industrial environment on the Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH production site. Trial operation is scheduled to start in June. These facilities are able not only to generate hydrogen (“H2”) and oxygen (“O2”) from water vapor in electrolysis operation but also electricity from fuel cell operation.
Hydrogen produced with the aid of the HTE can already be deployed in the existing annealing processes today, and could be used for partial substitution of carbon as a reduction agent in a blast furnace in the future. In association with the integrated steel works of the Salzgitter Group, there is also the additional option of using the energy-efficient waste heat potential in order to achieve high electrical efficiencies in H2 production.
The conference provided information on current developments in hydrogen and fuel cell technology in Germany, on application areas, and on the German government’s strategic objectives. In a high-level final plenary session, Olaf Lies (Lower Saxony Minister of Economic Affairs, Labor, and Transport), Enak Ferlemann (Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure), Wolfram Schwab (Management Board, Alstom Transport Deutschland GmbH), Prof. Dr.-Ing. Heinz Jörg Fuhrmann (Executive Board Chairman Salzgitter AG), Bernard Meyer (Managing Director MEYER Werft) and Barnaby Law (Fuel cells and hydrogen technology program director – Airbus Operations GmbH) discussed the economic and political perspectives of the use of hydrogen technology.
NOW GmbH National Organization Hydrogen and Fuel Technology and Alstom organized the event. A broad alliance of leading Lower Saxony companies supported the event.