What distinguishes the Fenne site for hydrogen production?
The Fenne site is an energy hub in Saarland already. STEAG operates several plants there for the generation and storage of electricity, district heating and process steam. Most recently, a large battery system with an electrical output of 15 MW was built at the site in 2017 to provide primary control power. Furthermore, a gas turbine with an electrical output of 35 MW is installed in Fenne. Both electricity and heat are generated from mine gas via engines with a capacity of 42 MW. These flexibility options, in conjunction with the electrolysers to be built ("HydroHub Fenne"), are to serve system security and a technical-economic operation of the electrolysers - even after the closure of the still existing coal-fired power plants. In addition to the electrical infrastructure that can already be used today, the site has connections to existing product gas networks, which will be converted into hydrogen networks, and to oxygen networks, through which the oxygen produced as a by-product can be transported to local industrial companies. There are numerous potential hydrogen consumers in the immediate vicinity of the site, first and foremost the Saarland steel industry and public transport. And last but not least, STEAG can take on the topic of green power supply via so-called Green PPAs (Power Purchase Agreements) as a basis for the production of green hydrogen.
Why should the HydroHub Fenne be awarded as IPCEI?
The HydroHub Fenne is as one of four partners of the "Greater Region Hydrogen Initiative" that have submitted an IPCEI joint application. The initiative, in which HydroHub Fenne would provide the preferably green hydrogen, aims to establish a regional hydrogen economy in parts of Germany, France and Luxembourg. This should serve as a basis for the decarbonisation of all sectors and actors in question (hydrogen producers as well as consumers) and thus also become an essential building block of the European "hydrogen backbone". In this respect, the HydroHub fulfils all the criteria of the hydrogen strategies of Germany and Europe within the framework of the Hydrogen Initiative.
How do the projects in Fenne and Duisburg differ?
In Duisburg, a much larger electrolysis plant (with a capacity of up to 500 MWel) is being developed compared to Fenne. The aim here is to decarbonise thyssenkrupp's steel production in Duisburg, which will provide a main consumer of the green hydrogen and oxygen. In Fenne, on the other hand, the "mobility" sector is to be included from the outset in addition to the "steel industry" sector. The network of pipelines used for this purpose runs partly through France and is many times the size of the network initially planned in Duisburg. Overall, far more partners are involved in the Greater Region than in Duisburg right from the start.
What both projects have in common is that they can make a significant contribution to the decarbonisation of industry and the transport sector. And in this way, industrial value creation and jobs in Germany can be maintained or expanded in a climate-friendly way.
Our podcast episodes on the topic of hydrogen (only German)
Episode 3: 36 minutes on the most common element in the universe: Hydrogen
Daniel talks to Julius Okon, responsible for project planning around hydrogen at STEAG Energy Services, about the most common element in the universe.
Special episode: Hydrogen project "HydrOxy"
The HydrOxy joint project is concerned with the construction of a water electrolysis plant with a capacity of 500 MW on the STEAG site in Duisburg and is intended to serve the nearby thyssenkrupp Steel plant with green hydrogen and oxygen.