Rhenus News

Energy Hub Wilhelmshaven: dena study confirms Wilhelmshaven as a possible hydrogen supply centre for Germany

What contribution Wilhelmshaven can make to the energy transition and what role hydrogen can play in this was the focus of a one-day energy forum with numerous representatives from the political, scientific and industrial communities on 27 April in Berlin. Three panels, a press conference and a closing panel discussion with high-profile guests provided the framework for discussing the location strategy for Wilhelmshaven and the results of a study by the German Energy Agency (dena). The host was the ENERGY HUB Port of Wilhelmshaven.

The remarkable response to the invitation from the ENERGY HUB Port of Wilhelmshaven, which was founded only a few months ago, showed both the interest and the urgency of supply security and energy transition. More than 200 participants attended the event at the representative office of the State of Lower Saxony to the Federal Government.

UNIPER, ArcelorMittal, Salzgitter AG, Storag Etzel and Rhenus are just a small selection of the 15 companies that joined forces with the Wilhelmshaven Economic Development Corporation in October 2021 to form the ENERGY HUB Port of Wilhelmshaven initiative. Their goal: to establish an industrial hydrogen cluster in Wilhelmshaven.

Concept based on three pillars
The region wants to achieve this using three pillars: the import of hydrogen and its derivatives via Germany’s only deep-water port, where large energy tankers can moor, the rededication of existing pipeline infrastructure and feed-in of hydrogen, and intermediate storage in existing salt caverns. The transport and conversion of CO2 produced during hydrogen production could also contribute to the energy transition in the future.

For many decades, Wilhelmshaven was known primarily as a hub for fossil fuels such as crude oil and coal. Now there are great opportunities for innovative new business set-ups and a climate-neutral economy, said Lord Mayor Carsten Feist at the press conference.

In addition to its geographical location, as Germany's only deep-water port, the advantages of Wilhelmshaven's import infrastructure for liquefied petroleum gas and hydrogen, the availability of land for companies to settle here, and optimal logistical connections and storage capacities are all factors in its favour.

Half of the H2 supply from 2030
According to the results of the dena study, Wilhelmshaven could take over half of Germany's entire hydrogen supply from 2030 onwards through imports and self-production. All political representatives emphasised that, in view of the current uncertain situation regarding the future supply of Russian natural gas, a massive acceleration of the expansion of Germany's own energy capacities for imports and production is urgently needed.

State Secretary Siemtje Möller thanked Uwe Oppitz, Managing Director of Rhenus Ports and spokesperson for the ENERGY HUB, on behalf of all the companies involved in the initiative for their joint efforts to drive forward the energy transition. Bringing together the interests of all the companies involved in the initiative was not difficult, Uwe Oppitz revealed. The motto “together instead of alone” had been lived out over the past six months, creating a close network and a lot of trust.

Wilhelmshaven as Energy Hub 2.0
For Olaf Lies, the presentation of the study’s findings in Berlin made perfect sense because the planned capacities and projects in Wilhelmshaven were not for the benefit of Lower Saxony but for the whole of Germany: “Without Wilhelmshaven, the transformation will not succeed.” Finally, dena Managing Director Andreas Kuhlmann praised the “great efforts marked by courage, foresight and leadership. We learn a lot from such projects”.

In addition to Uwe Oppitz, other Rhenus representatives attended the event. “Wilhelmshaven is already an energy hub and an industrial hydrogen cluster is being established. I would be pleased if our team on-site helps to realise the visions and makes it possible to create additional industrial settlements and jobs,” stated long-standing Rhenus board member Michael Viefers.

Further ENERGY HUB Port of Wilhelmshaven events are already being prepared, including one on 29 June in Hanover, on 25/26 August in Gödens and on 21 September in Wilhelmshaven.