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Structural changes in former german coal-mining regions lead to an international centre for Power-to-X in the region of Lausitz.

The former coal-mining region of Lausitz in the state of Brandenburg is to be turned into an international centre for Power-to-X (PtX). The term describes technologies which are derived first from the production of “green hydrogen” via electrolysis, powered by surplus renewable energy. The hydrogen (H2) can then be synthesised into storable methane, synthetic fuels for mobility and aviation, heat and electricity, and also chemical production.

On March 2, national and state politicians announced their support totalling EUR 180 million for the “PtX Lab Lausitz” and demonstration plant until 2024. "Green hydrogen and power-to-X are instrumental for a successful energy transition,” Germany’s Environment Minister Svenja Schulze is quoted from a press conference. “Aeroplanes and ships need climate-friendly fuels, the chemicals industry needs environmentally sound base materials. In Germany we have the necessary expertise to put PtX technologies on the global market.”

The choice of location is strategic. The phase-out of coal power has disrupted the traditional industry in Brandenburg and Saxony. Brandenburg’s Energy Minister Jörg Steinbach pointed to the multiple benefits the new PtX Lab will bring: "Green hydrogen enables the electricity, heat, transport and industry sectors to be interlinked, and sector coupling is essential to step up climate action effectively,” he said at the event. “Such innovative technologies offer major opportunities for Brandenburg’s industry – namely new regional added value and jobs – the very things we urgently need for successful structural development in Lausitz."

It is hoped the centre in Cottbus will become a think tank and global centre of excellence for PtX. Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) is funding the project within the budget for Structural Change in Coal-Mining Regions.