In the following interview, Claas Hülsen, who is Business Development Director Advisory Region CEMED and Authorised Representative Energy Systems at DNV is talking about the perfect match between Hamburg and hydrogen.
Renewable Energy Hamburg: What potential does the Metropolitan Region of Hamburg offer for establishing a ‘green’ hydrogen economy?
Claas Hülsen: ‘The Metropolitan Region of Hamburg has huge potential when it comes to a green hydrogen economy. The region is home to numerous industries that need H2 in order to decarbonise. Furthermore, the transport logistics with the Port of Hamburg as the central hub and connections via rail, pipeline and road, have been expanded. This existing basis makes it possible to establish a new green hydrogen economy. And we should think big here – with the right steps, the Hamburg metropolitan region can benefit greatly. Not least because the region also has huge geological storage potential for imported hydrogen. It’s crucial that a large number of stakeholders pull together and that the necessary political framework is in place at both federal and state level.’
Renewable Energy Hamburg: In your opinion, what are the most important prerequisites for a successful hydrogen economy (keywords: expansion of renewable energies, regulation, profitability)?
Claas Hülsen: ‘In the initial phase, definitely the funding framework to begin with, as well as the participation of as many stakeholders as possible in cohesive concepts. After all, we’re talking about the challenging task of linking up different sectors that have previously been separate – electricity and molecule-bound business. Supplying H2 directly to consumption is essential here.
The further expansion of renewable energies is also necessary for developing the hydrogen economy in Germany. But we mustn’t fool ourselves either – the domestic production potential will in all likelihood fall behind demand very quickly. This is why it’s already very important to tackle the issue internationally so that imports can also take place via the region. In the long term, one thing is clear – it will not be possible to produce hydrogen at the lowest prices in our region. We need renewable energies for electricity generation in particular – but also strategically in order to establish our hydrogen economy. Government shouldn’t be too dogmatic in this regard either. Only if we succeed in developing the technology and the market in our home market can we achieve a strategic advantage in the mid-term.’
Renewable Energy Hamburg: How do you assess the potential for the synergies from H2 and offshore wind?
Claas Hülsen: ‘DNV started looking into this matter very early on. Due to the high peak-load hours, hydrogen production linked to offshore wind is the most economical form of H2 production in our latitudes. In addition, the greater the distance from the coast, the more attractive it becomes to transport molecules compared to cable-based transport. Of course, we’re breaking new ground technologically in various aspects – but I think it makes a lot of sense if we develop this technology in Germany as a pioneer, because the potential for the technology worldwide is huge.
Thank you for your time and fascinating answers!