In a project aptly named "TH2ECO", the state of Thuringia is reinforcing its position as a key player in building Germany’s hydrogen economy. The project, that has been running since June 2021, will have the largest green hydrogen (H2) production capacity in the state so far – predominantly produced using wind power, with a view to introducing photovoltaics into the equation later down the line.
From 2025, hydrogen will be generated by electrolysis at a site in Northern Thuringia, then transported to a combined heat and power plant in the capital Erfurt, where it will supply a climate-friendly district heating network for up to 86,000 households. Partners in the project are the energy and infrastructure suppliers Ferngas Netzgesellschaft, TEAG and Stadtwerke Erfurt.
"Green hydrogen is a mainstay of our clean energy mix. As an energy storage system for wind and solar power, in industry and logistics, hydrogen can become a standard energy carrier… and creates added value and jobs," explains Thuringia’s State Secretary for Energy, Burkhard Vogel, speaking to PV Magazine. To facilitate the distribution of H2 in the region, existing natural gas pipelines and storage facilities are being adapted, with new infrastructure added.
A recent meeting of project collaborators explored possible connection to the German national hydrogen grid and better framework conditions for the hydrogen economy as a whole. "From 2025, the first hydrogen is to flow through the regional pipelines, for which we are already building and investing," says Dieter Bochmann, MD of Ferngas Netzgesellschaft.
Hydrogen will also be delivered to industrial customers in Erfurter Kreuz, where the battery giant CATL has established its first European battery production facility. Furthermore, a new dedicated H2 pipeline is being laid to service Thuringia's first H2 filling station at Erfurt’s freight transport hub. The Thuringian Ministry of Energy has already fronted EUR 360,000 to fund a feasibility study and project management costs.