Funding notifications for sub-projects of the HyPerformer H2Rivers: The first Day of Hydrogen (Tag des Wasserstoffs) took place on 1 July in Waiblingen, near Stuttgart. Michael Theurer, State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport (Bundesministerium für Digitales und Verkehr), handed over a notification of funding of just under 5.3 million euros for the project. Guests were able to learn more about the planned regional hydrogen infrastructure and could also inspect fuel cell vehicles at various information booths.

Under the motto “locally considered, locally made” (“lokal gedacht, lokal gemacht”), the project company hy.waiblingen and its shareholders Stadtwerke Waiblingen and GP JOULE explained to the audience what the hydrogen infrastructure in Waiblingen will look like in the future. The hydrogen will be produced via electrolysis using mainly regional, renewable sources of energy. This means an electrolyser will split water into its hydrogen and oxygen components. Test operations are scheduled to start here at the end of 2023.

The hydrogen is stored in a compressed state and serves as an emission-free fuel for fuel cell vehicles. The fuel cell converts the hydrogen together with oxygen from the ambient air back into water. The resulting electricity drives the electric motor.

In Waiblingen, green hydrogen will be available for buses, trucks and cars at a public filling station from the beginning of 2024. In addition, ten fuel cell buses are to be used for zero-emission local public transport.

Hydrogen economy is regional yet interconnected
The Waiblingen facilities are part of the joint “H2Rivers” project, which extends across the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region. Here, the development of a hydrogen economy has already begun, while in most other regions feasibility studies are just getting underway. For this purpose, the Waiblingen project is receiving funding as part of the nationwide HyLand programme in the HyPerformer category.

“The German government has set itself the goal of establishing a market for green hydrogen and establishing value chains to ensure that Germany takes an international leading role in hydrogen technology. We want to secure and expand Germany’s technological leadership in hydrogen and fuel cell technology. Hydrogen plays a key role in achieving the climate goals, especially in the transport sector. That is why I am particularly pleased about the work being done at hy.waiblingen,” said State Secretary Michael Theurer when presenting the funding notification.

Bernhard Zipp, Technical Director of Stadtwerke Waiblingen and Managing Director of hy.waiblingen, said: “The energy transition is regional. hy.waiblingen covers the entire value chain of a sustainable hydrogen infrastructure. From the production of hydrogen with renewable energies to the refuelling of hydrogen buses. Waiblingen is energy transition in action.” The motivation had long been existing in Waiblingen, he said, and Stadtwerke Waiblingen had only been looking for a suitable partner. “We have found the perfect partner in GP JOULE. The company has practically created a blueprint for regional hydrogen projects with the eFarm project in North Friesland,” explained Zipp.

“From the very beginning, our goal was to pass on and implement the knowledge from eFarm to as many hydrogen regions in Germany as possible. The example of Waiblingen shows that we have succeeded,” said André Steinau, Managing Director of GP JOULE HYDROGEN and also of hy.waiblingen.

As part of the “Hydrogen Week”, organisations and companies all over Germany present their projects. In this way, the green energy carrier can be experienced first-hand. After the restrictions of the past two years, interested people can now once again inform themselves personally about the diverse projects.

Image: From left to right: Frank Schöller (Managing Director of Stadtwerke Waiblingen), Dr. Richard Sigel (District Administrator of the Rems-Murr district), Michael Theurer (Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport), André Steinau (Managing Director GP JOULE HYDROGEN and hy.waiblingen), Bernhard Zipp (Managing Director hy.waiblingen and Technical Director of Stadtwerke Waiblingen), Sebastian Wolf (Mayor of Waiblingen) and Dr. Ralf Wörner (Director of the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences and initiator of hy.waiblingen). Image credits: GP JOULE