59 candidates in six categories – the German Renewables Award is setting new records with its anniversary event on 11 November 2021. For the tenth time, the expert judging panel, consisting of eight experts from the renewable energy sector, selected the winners who are advancing the energy transition with their innovations and inventions. New: the “Hydrogen innovation of the year” category The awards were presented yesterday at the International Maritime Museum Hamburg.
Product innovation of the year
The new Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy SG 14-222 DD offshore wind turbine turns many small ideas into one big leap of innovation and won the German Renewables Award in the “Product innovation of the year” category. These include not only the record length of the rotor blades and the up to 15 MW output, but also the combination of innovations in production, high availability, digitalisation and the latest control technology. A single wind turbine supplies energy for 18,000 European households.
“We are very proud of our new SG 14-222 DD; particularly as we are currently installing the prototype in Østerild, Denmark. We were able to increase the output by a quarter compared to the previous model, reduce the electricity production costs and promise our customers the valued reliability of proven technology at the same time. The German Renewables Award is a wonderful recognition for the whole team and motivates us to never get tired of continuously improving our green technology for the fight against the climate crisis. Martin Gerhardt, Head of Platform and Portfolio Management for the Offshore Division, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy.
The nominees for the “Product innovation of the year” category included IZAAC.Energy with a digital service for the optimised design of energy supply and consumption units, and Olmatic Power Tracking with a solution for dynamic energy distribution in industry. Nine companies contested in total.
Project of the year
Stadtreinigung Hamburg’s winning project “Extended Heat Utilisation Müllverwertung Borsigstraße” in the “Project of the year” category pursues the goal of additional heat recovery through the targeted cooling of flue gases. Depending on demand, the MVB will in future feed directly into the district heating network or make the steam produced available to the Hamburg-Tiefstack combined heat and power station. After completion of both construction phases, the total reduction in CO2 emissions will be 104,000 tonnes per year.
Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Siechau, Managing Director, Stadtreinigung Hamburg: “We are very happy and also a little proud that we won the German Renewables Award 2021 in the “Project of the year” category. By increasing the efficiency of our waste-to-energy plant in Borsigstraße, we will feed a larger share of heat into Hamburg’s heating network in future without the use of additional waste as fuel. This unique project in Germany is therefore making a significant contribution to the heating transition in Hamburg and to environmental protection in general.
The joint project Energy Coast, a joint brand of four Schleswig-Holstein districts for the marketing of renewable energies and sector coupling, and the hydrogen-based fuel cell HyRange® Range Extender for battery electric commercial vehicles were the other two nominees in the “Project of the year” category, in which a total of six companies were up for consideration.
Hydrogen innovation of the year
The regional hydrogen hub built by the APEX Group in Rostock-Laage offers a complex infrastructure, which covers all technical aspects as well as the economic framework conditions for the future development and operation of corresponding hydrogen energy solutions. The judging panel recognised this achievement with the new German Renewables Award in the “Hydrogen innovation of the year” category.
“We are very pleased about this award,” said Mathias Hehmann, CEO of the APEX Group. “The German Renewables Award is one of the most prestigious awards for innovative companies in our sector. It is a huge incentive for us. We are pushing the topic of hydrogen with full force – with innovative and practical applications.”
The AquaVentus initiative, which wants to send a signal with climate-friendly hydrogen technology, and Energie des Nordens from Haurup were also nominated. Eight companies were in the running in the “Hydrogen innovation of the year” category.
Student thesis of the year
Jan Wiemer from Fraunhofer IEE and the University of Kassel won the award in the “Student thesis of the year” category with his study on “Interactions between peak capping and overhead line monitoring in grid planning and grid operation management”. Within the scope of his Master’s thesis, he developed a method which enabled the combination of the two optimisation measures for the first time and thus proved that a larger wind farm capacity could be connected to a heavily utilised section of the electricity grid.
“I am really happy about winning the German Renewables Award. It is very motivating that my hard work and the many ideas that have gone into my Master's thesis have been recognised. I think it's particularly great that, in cooperation with Avacon Netz, there are currently further investigations into the influence of additional PV feed-in on the methodology developed here at the Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Economics and Energy System Technology in Kassel,” explained Jan Wiemer.
Nominee Maria Hart from the Leibniz University Hannover had researched the optimisation of decentralised renewable energy systems for developing countries. Felix Schmidt at the Freie Universität Berlin submitted the “Impact of Exposure to Disinformation about the Energy Transition on Acceptance of Renewable Energy”. Six graduates contested for “Student thesis of the year”.
Life work of the year
“In the last fifty years, I have learnt that it often helps matters if you do not strive for your own success and take a step back as a person. I am very pleased that my work has been recognised by the German Renewables Award this year and consider the award an accolade for all my fellow campaigners who have brought about this incredible change. They all deserved this award just as much as me. The award encourages me to continue my work for a 100% renewable energy supply in all parts of the world at full speed so that together we can achieve this goal before 2050,” Prof. Dr. Olav Hohmeyer, award winner in the “Life work of the year” category, says happily.
Prof. Hohmeyer started his career in 1982 at the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and
Innovation Research in Karlsruhe. From 1994 to June 1998, he was Head of Research for the Department of Environmental and Resource Economics at the Centre for European Economic Research in Mannheim. Since July 1998 Professor Hohmeyer has held the professorship for Energy and Resource Economics at the University of Flensburg. From 1996 to 2011, Prof. Hohmeyer was Lead Author for the IPCC. The scientist advises the governments of Barbados and the Seychelles on the possibilities of a 100% renewable electricity supply. In 2007, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize as member of the UN Climate Change Council.
When the last solar module produced in Germany rolled off the production line in Saxony in 2018, it was the final chapter in the decline of a once flourishing industry. But now, writes Andreas Molitor in his report for the business magazine “brand eins”, the German solar industry is reawakening. Molitor named his piece “It’s all about the big picture” [Es geht ums Ganze], which impressed the panel with its straightforward linguistic style and classic, journalistic dramaturgy.
“The research for this article was the first to take place on location with interlocutors again after seemingly endless months of lockdown. A real factory with working people whose feverish excitement you could sense – that was very special and incredibly liberating,” explains winner Andreas Molitor.
30 journalists from renowned German media contested in the category – a record since the first edition of the award in 2018. Merlin Theile from “Die Zeit” came in second place with her report “What do citizens want to endure?” [Was wollen die Bürger sich zumuten?]. Stephanie Krüger of Hessischer Rundfunk won the bronze prize with her contribution “Where should all the wind turbines and solar plants be built?” [Wo sollen all die Windräder und Solaranlagen stehen?] from the series “Alles Wissen”.