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Geesthacht: Hydrogen port and filling station planned

Geesthacht: Hydrogen port and filling station planned
The DLR is planning a ship that could dock in the Geesthacht hydrogen port in the future. It will be a floating test station for efficient and low-emission energy supply under real conditions. Image: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

The city of Geesthacht would like to consistently promote the energy transition. To achieve this new technology has to be developed and a suitable infrastructure has to be provided. And hydrogen technologies are undisputably a significant component of the energy transition.

Hydrogen would be delivered to the Geesthacht harbour, stored temporarily amd from there be distributed to the end consumer. Both liquid and gaseous hydrogen will play a role. The liquid hydrogen should arrive in tank ships and be stored temporarily in Geesthacht for further distribution on ships and lorries; the hydrogen should be used for fuelling lorries, cars and also buses.

The idea emerged during a collaboration between the Helmholtz-Centre Hereon, the German centre for aerospace technology (DLR) and the Geesthacht city council. The Geesthacht environmental committee has already approved the project.

The situation of the planned hydrogen harbour is strategically favourable at the tri-border region. At this point there is a lot of traffic flow on both water and land, which could in the future fall back on the emission-free fuel. © City of Geesthacht

The research behind it

The Hereon institute for hydrogen technology and the DLR institute for maritime energy systems are two research partners who have professional expertise among other areas in the storage of hydrogen and fuelling possibilities for ships and lorries. Therefore the centres Hereon and DLR, which both belong to the Helmholtz community, are not only significantly involved in the planning but should also play an important role in the implementation. The scientists plan stations on the harbour premises at which research can be tried and tested on site for new, safe fuelling concepts as well as hydrogen storage and compression under real conditions.

The research behind it
The LUDWIG PRANDTL II shall receive laboratories for costal research, hydrogen technology (fuel cells and metal hydride storage tanks) and the testing of membrane modules for waste gas cleaning. Image: Hereon/Volker Dzaak

Next steps

There are regular planning meetings in place at the moment. Positive meetings have already taken place with the state coordinators for harbour and state commissioners for hydrogen as well as stakeholders in Hamburg harbour for the provision of hydrogen. A possible filling station operator is also already integrated in the planning. There has also been interest shown by companies which would like to take hydrogen from the distribution centre.

Currently, the main issues are assembling a concrete core team to conduct a feasability study. The study should make the design and a serious cost estimation possible. This involves defining what the harbour and the filling station should achieve, estimating which amounts of hydrogen there will be in the diifferent storage forms and how the research content should look. Then the next step is looking into options for financing to address all possible investors.

The project wil be supported by Schleswig-Holstein’s minister for econoomic affairs, Dr. Bernd Buchholz, and Hamburg’s Senator for economics and innovation, Michael Westhagemann. Both of them were in Geesthacht in September to find out about the plans. They both commented on their visit in a positive light: “I am very impressed by the project concept”, stated Westhagemann. And Buchholz: “We are both huge hydrogen fans!”

About the author

Gesa Seidel is in responsible for science communication at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon. She is at the interface between researchers, media representatives and the public in the Communication and Media department and deals with public relations, editorial work and is also responsible for Hereon’s social media channels.