For the first time in Germany, hydrogen will be produced and used in an urban neighbourhood setting for domestic power needs, mobility and industry. The Neue Weststadt climate quarter in Esslingen, in the Stuttgart region, is one of six urban planning lighthouse projects funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Set over a 100,000-square-metre site, the green quarter will include 450 flats, commercial space, and a building for the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences.
Underneath it, an underground energy centre will be built to house an electrolyser to generate green hydrogen (H2), which will be powered by surplus energy from photovoltaic roof panels. The gas can be turned back into electricity when required using a combined heat and power plant to supply local businesses, charge electric vehicles, feed into long-term storage or even back into the grid.
The biggest challenge to face by the project partners is how to integrate an H2 energy system safely into a high-density residential quarter. Extensive safety assessments have been carried out by TÜV Süd not only for the generation of H2 on site but also for the storage, distribution and reconversion of the volatile gas, including the construction of a special pipeline and filling plant.
"The Neue Weststadt proves that safe and economical solutions can already be found today to convert renewable energies into hydrogen and store it. And not only in demarcated industrial areas, but also in public spaces," says Björn Eislechner, head of the Stuttgart branch of TÜV Süd Industrie Service GmbH, in a .
With sector-coupling integrated throughout the concept, Neue Weststadt demonstrates how climate-neutral residential and commercial construction can be realised in a way that creates value for the region.