Thinking ahead with hydrogen
Hydrogen is set to play a central role in the energy transition. Together with partners, we want to drive forward the production, storage and use of green hydrogen on a new scale - in Lusatia and beyond.
The future with hydrogen
Hydrogen instead of carbon is the motto for climate-neutral energy, industry and mobility of the future. Green hydrogen, which is produced with electricity from renewable sources is a flexible and CO2-free all-rounder.
The national and European hydrogen strategies set the framework for testing the potential in practice. Germany wants to become a technology leader. In cooperation with partners, we want to develop, build and operate suitable hydrogen projects.
Our long-term goal is to realise hydrogen solutions and storage solutions for the market and to map the entire value chain from a single source:
- generation and supply of electricity from renewable energies
- production, storage and supply of green hydrogen
- use of green hydrogen in flexible power plants with H2 readiness and mere H2 electricity generation
- green hydrogen for partners in transport, logistics and other sectors (e.g. green steel)
Hydrogen mobility in Lusatia
The first project in the economic region of Lusatia in which we are involved focuses on mobility. Under the heading "Sustainable use of hydrogen in local public transport", we are taking on the production of green hydrogen from 100 percent renewable energies for Cottbusverkehr GmbH. The municipal and regional public transport operator is planning to convert its bus fleet to climate-neutral drives in the coming years. Part of the vehicle fleet, currently 55 buses in total, will run on "green hydrogen" in the future.
The project scope of the 1st expansion stage includes a 1.5 MW electrolyser, which is built and operated by LEAG. The green hydrogen produced will supply Cottbusverkehr's first Lusatian hydrogen filling station, which is also to be newly built. This first joint municipal-private project for climate-friendly hydrogen mobility is being supported with 5.62 million euros in funding from the structural strengthening process. Other project partners include the LEAG logistics subsidiary TSS, the transport and logistics company REINERT and the waste disposal company ALBA.
The green electricity supply for the electrolyser is organised by LEAG energy cubes. The LEAG subsidiary markets electricity from LEAG's own renewable energy plants as well as wind and PV electricity from third parties. In the long term, we are aiming for a regional supply of green electricity from wind and PV parks in the vicinity of the electrolyser. LEAG is currently developing several renewable projects in this area, including a floating PV plant on the future Cottbus Ostsee. By producing and using green hydrogen on site, we want to open up and expand new regional value chain.
Lusatia region project
We see the production of green hydrogen with a directly connected hydrogen filling station at the Cottbusverkehr site as the starting point for a Lusatia H2 region project. It is intended to create a supra-regional filling station network for alternative propulsion systems.
With the ramp-up of hydrogen production at the Cottbus site, the construction and supply of further H2 filling stations in the districts of the Lausitz economic region is possible. Here, too, electrolysers could take over production on site as demand increases, so that an H2 network gradually spreads across the districts of Brandenburg and Saxony's Lusatia. The range of refuelling options for alternative drives can also be rounded off by e-charging stations.
Our goal is to create an economic and flexibly functioning network of hydrogen producers and users within the framework of municipal-private partnerships, which will serve as a model for the entire country. Initial agreements have been concluded with the districts. As the overarching coordinating body, we are working together with the Lausitz economic region and are involved in the hydrogen network durcH2atmen.
Hydrogen infrastructure for eastern Germany
MITNETZ GAS and LEAG have been cooperating on the development of hydrogen solutions for Central Germany and Lusatia since 2022. The aim is to cover the entire spectrum from generation, transport and distribution to the delivery of green hydrogen to industrial customers.
The three pillars of the partnership are:
- the generation of green gases by LEAG
- the distribution and production or use of grid connections for the acceptance of H2 for grid customers of MITNETZ GAS and MITNETZ STROM by MITNETZ GAS
- the joint conception, realisation and operation of hydrogen filling stations with a focus on areas in which MITNETZ GAS holds the concessions.
Hydrogen solutions with combined forces
MITNETZ GAS operates a regional distribution network for the transport and distribution of gas in Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. The enviaM subsidiary brings corresponding strengths to the partnership:
- Infrastructure for the distribution of green gases in the network area of MITNETZ GAS and network connections for handover to customers
- Design of filling station locations in line with demand
- on-site implementation of the planned mobility facilities and operational management
- MITNETZ STROM will in particular be responsible for creating the necessary electricity infrastructure and associated grid connections
Within the scope of the cooperation with MITNETZ GAS, LEAG will in particular take on the following services:
- Green power supplier in cooperation with LEAG energy cubes
- Production of green hydrogen
- Hydrogen logistics by trailer for future hydrogen filling stations
- Realisation and operation of electrolysers, e.g. in conjunction with H2 filling stations
Value creation and decarbonisation
The common goal is to establish a complete hydrogen value chain in partnership as a contribution to the decarbonisation of the regions and thus also to make an important contribution to the targeted climate neutrality in Germany by 2045. An initial project is to be set up in the Lippendorf area (Leipzig district).
Knowledge box on the topic of hydrogen
Hydrogen is the lightest chemical element. It therefore leads the periodic table. Its symbol is H for hydrogenium. In nature, hydrogen only occurs in bound form, for example as H2, in water as H2O or in hydrocarbons such as methane as CH4.
Hydrogen makes up 0.88 per cent of the composition of the earth's solid crust and thus ranks 9th in the frequency of chemical elements. Pure hydrogen (H) is found in higher concentrations only in some volcanic gases, otherwise it occurs only in traces in the lower layers of the atmosphere. However, hydrogen in bound form is a component of the most widespread organic compounds such as water and hydrocarbons. By itself, H2 is an odourless and colourless gas.
Hydrogen production refers to the provision of molecular hydrogen (H2). The raw materials used can be water (H2O), natural gas, which consists mainly of methane (CH4), other hydrocarbons, biomass and other hydrogen-containing compounds. The energy source is chemical energy or externally supplied electrical, thermal or solar energy.
Basically, hydrogen is colourless. The colour attribute refers to the method of production and the handling of the resulting additional products, usually carbon dioxide. If hydrogen is produced from natural gas by adding thermal energy and heating the gas so that it splits into hydrogen and carbon dioxide, it is referred to as grey or blue. The production process is the same, only with grey hydrogen the carbon dioxide is released unused into the atmosphere. If this is collected, it is called blue hydrogen. If hydrogen is produced by the thermal fission of methane (methane pyrolysis), solid carbon is produced instead of carbon dioxide. If this carbon is permanently bonded and renewable energy is also used for heat input, the hydrogen is turquoise.
Electrolysis (Greek: "to separate by means of electricity") is a process by which one understands the splitting of a chemical compound under the influence of the electric current. In a hydrogen electrolyser, water (H2O) is split into the components hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O) by means of electrical energy. There are now several methods for this process.
The Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology writes: "Innovative technologies are needed to further advance the energy transition - hydrogen technology is an important component in this. The great advantages of hydrogen are that it can be used to easily store and transport energy. This enables much greater flexibility in energy supply." In the transformation from fossil fuels to renewable energy, hydrogen has now assumed an important role in political planning and targets. It can be stored and offers an alternative to electric drives in vehicles, as it is suitable as a fuel for trucks, cars and other vehicles.