10 July 2019

Impetus from Hydrogen Valley

Renewable energy is the focus of an event hosted by bremenports and Niedersachsen Ports.

Once again Bremerhaven has been chosen as the location to showcase innovative technologies and projects from the maritime industry. For the sixth time, bremenports and Niedersachsen Ports are hosting a networking session to promote innovation and sustainability at the ports in the north-west of Germany and this year, the focus is on hydrogen as an energy source. To ensure that the changeover in the electricity sector leads to a genuine transition to green energy and that the defined climate protection targets can be achieved, the North-West Region is assuming the role of driver of the transformation process and sending a clear signal to the politicians that appropriate conditions have to be created for the market rollout of green hydrogen to enable the development of viable business models. The supply of green hydrogen from renewable electricity, which currently remains unused, will play a central role in that connection, making it possible to store and transport renewable energy on a large scale.

“We have already made good progress with the implementation of our greenports strategy and our target of achieving carbon-neutral port infrastructure at the ports of Bremen by the year 2024. We are also planning to promote hydrogen as an energy source at the port as part of that process,” stated Robert Howe, Managing Director of bremenports, in his welcome address to the approx. 120 delegates who attended the event at t.i.m.e.Port II in Bremerhaven.

Some practical examples, such as the use of a stable and fast-reacting electrolyser at Emden public utility company, the development of the world’s first hydrogen-powered sea ferry with fuel cell for passenger and vehicle transport by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the use of hydrogen in passenger trains and shunting locomotives by Alstom are all proof that technical feasibility has already been achieved. The non-profit organisation H2BX is also helping the North-West Region and Bremerhaven to establish a further high-tech research and industry sector.

bremenports also expects further impetus to come from SHARC, a project funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy to investigate the use of renewable energy sources in the “Überseehafen” port district in Bremerhaven as part of the “Energy transition in the transport sector” research initiative. This aims to exploit positive synergies by promoting cross-sectoral cooperation. The use of renewable energy sources such as hydrogen will also be important for the transport sector. On conclusion of the project, the results are to be implemented in the course of a planned demonstration phase.

The WasH2Emden project also investigates the scope for the use of green hydrogen at the seaport of Emden. This study is evaluating technically feasible and economically viable green H2 supply chains for the port location. The use of surplus electricity for the production of hydrogen, which can be used as a source of energy at the port, is intended to reduce both carbon emissions as well as air pollutants.

The use of renewable energy sources such as hydrogen is a central element of the project to development “Lune-Delta”, a sustainable industrial park which will pioneer the energy system of the future. This location will offer excellent conditions for the renewable energy industry: the district in the south of Bremerhaven is marketed by Bremen’s economic development company BIS and will provide business enterprises with a forward-looking environment which facilitates sustainable business management and the execution of innovative pilot projects.


A study to develop an overall concept for Fischereihafen, the former fishing port in Bremerhaven, is intended to highlight the benefits of green hydrogen as an energy source and promote its integration in the economic development of the city of Bremerhaven and the surrounding region. Again, the study first investigated the technical feasibility before identifying suitable areas of application and assessing the necessary investments.

A look at Cuxhaven shows that the city and surrounding district are taking a new approach to the use of hydrogen. Making the most of the ideal conditions for a further “Hydrogen Competence Region”, the regional economic development agency is cooperating with Hydrogentle to develop a scheme for the use of hydrogen use. The objective is to draw up a large-scale master plan for the hydrogen business in Cuxhaven.

Work on the integration of hydrogen as an energy source at the port and terminals is also underway on an international scale: a project entitled H2Ports conducted at the port of Valencia aims to identify efficient, clean and quiet solutions for the use of hydrogen to power forklifts, machinery and heavy-lift vehicles at the terminal. It is also examining the energy efficient options for the supply of hydrogen as an energy source in order to ensure a sustainable hydrogen supply chain at the port.

During the closing panel discussion with representatives from the fields of science, business and the regional renewable energy organisation of Lower Saxony and Bremen, it became clear that green hydrogen has meanwhile become a firm element of the changeover to green energy and for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Northern Germany and the North-West Region intend to make the most of their role as “Hydrogen Valley” to exploit their location advantages and seize this opportunity of establishing and consolidating a green hydrogen industry. Numerous pilot projects have already proved that practical technologies are already available and waiting to the go-ahead to be used for the transition to green energy. The panel members stressed that the government also has to take further action to promote hydrogen technology. Amongst other things, this means enabling further expansion of the capacities for renewable electricity, promoting its exclusive use for the production of hydrogen and creating a legal framework which will enable green hydrogen to be competitive compared with fossil fuels.