VERBUND, Austria’s largest producer of renewable energy, is developing a European project for production, transportation and use of green hydrogen. This project will greatly advance decarbonisation by means of green hydrogen – benefiting industrial users and the mobility sector.
VERBUND, Austria’s leading energy utility and one of the largest producers of hydroelectricity in Europe has been intensively exploring green hydrogen, a versatile energy carrier, with the goal of extending the green electricity value chain and thus taking important steps towards decarbonisation.
VERBUND deems green hydrogen an important building block for the decarbonisation of Europe and intends to establish green hydrogen as a second green energy carrier next to green electricity in its portfolio. To underline these ambitions, VERBUND has already launched several flagship projects, most prominently the construction and operation of one of the world’s largest electrolysis plants as part of the H2FUTURE project with voestalpine, Siemens, APG, K1-MET and TNO, funded by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU). VERBUND also developed and now operates the HOTFLEX project, which deploys a highly innovative reversible solid oxide electrolyser and fuel cell. VERBUND is also engaged in a number of further projects related to the production, storage and use of green hydrogen.
Green hydrogen is produced through electrolysis of renewable electricity. It emits significantly less carbon dioxide when used, because natural gas is substituted in the production of hydrogen. In the mobility sector, green hydrogen is an alternative source of energy to replace fossil fuels, especially in freight transport.
From today’s viewpoint, future needs for green hydrogen will only partially be met from domestic production. To a much higher degree, Austria, just like most Western-European countries, will rely on imports of green hydrogen to achieve their ambitious climate targets. A European green hydrogen economy will include all aspects from generation to transport and utilization.
“VERBUND is embracing green hydrogen, because as a producer of green electricity we believe that this sustainable product will greatly further the achievement of climate targets. At VERBUND we are taking the lead here, working with distinguished partners from Austria and other European countries to help green hydrogen achieve a breakthrough. In terms of sector integration and sector coupling, we are focusing on new infrastructure, innovative technologies and sustainable business models,” said Michael Strugl, Deputy CEO of VERBUND.
Green Hydrogen @ Blue Danube: a hydrogen project of European dimensions
VERBUND is developing the Green Hydrogen @ Blue Danube project in conjunction with technology partners and buyers of green hydrogen within the framework of the European Commission’s Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEIs) initiative. The goal is to create a trans-European green hydrogen value chain – from production to transportation to purchase by industrial and mobility customers. The first phase focuses on the production and use of green hydrogen in Austria and neighbouring Bavaria. Given that Austria will not be able to produce enough hydrogen, the second phase of the project will focus on the production of green hydrogen from renewable electricity in south-eastern Europe. There, wind, solar and hydropower will be converted into hydrogen directly on site to harness Europe’s renewable resources that otherwise could not be utilised owing to a lack of electricity transmission capacity. This hydrogen will then be transported via the River Danube, a long-established European transport corridor (TEN-T), to hydrogen users in Austria and Germany.
Call for expression of interest
Important projects of common European interest are a European Commission initiative intended to enhance value creation in strategically important topics in Europe. The Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology has issued a call for expression of interest in the field of hydrogen until 20 November 2020. VERBUND is taking part in the call with Green Hydrogen @ Blue Danube and will make use of this opportunity to continue to develop and implement the project in conjunction with a powerful alliance of international partners.