Ministry for Economic Affairs publishes study on the use of hydrogen in North Rhine-Westphalia

Specialist conference “Hydrogen as a source of energy for industry in the future?!”


Hydrogen can play a decisive role in terms of shifting the industrial sector towards greenhouse gas emissions neutrality. This is the conclusion drawn by the specialist conference on hydrogen held by the new state-based IN4climate.NRW initiative. The event brought together around 200 decision-makers and experts from industry, science and politics for an exchange of ideas on the potential of this emerging technology. The discussion was based on the results of the North Rhine-Westphalia Hydrogen Study, carried out by the Ministry of Economics, Innovation, Digitalisation and Energy of North Rhine-Westphalia, which was presented at the event. The study confirms that hydrogen offers great potential for working towards a climate neutral energy system of the future and has a positive impact in terms of value creation, the labour market and dependence on energy imports. Up to 130,000 jobs could be created in North Rhine-Westphalia through the wide use of this technology.

“The transformation of our industrial sector towards greenhouse gas emissions neutrality is one of the biggest and most pressing issues of our time,” Secretary of State Christoph Dammermann emphasised in his speech right at the start of the event. “It is important to equip our industrial sector to meet the challenges of the coming decades. Hydrogen will make an important contribution in this context, as the study published today shows us.”

130,000 new jobs created thanks to hydrogen technologies

The study, which was carried out by Ludwig-Bölkow-Systemtechnik (LBST) on behalf of the Ministry for Economic Affairs, examines the potential impact of hydrogen on the economy and the climate as part of the energy system of the future in North Rhine-Westphalia and Germany. One of the key findings of the study is that a largely renewable energy system with a high percentage of hydrogen will offer significant cost benefits in Germany. This can be ascribed to the particularly high level of flexibility the system provides. The study also assesses the impact on jobs as positive: through the wide use of hydrogen technologies, it estimates that up to 130,000 new jobs could be created in the long term in North Rhine-Westphalia.

IN4climate.NRW supports greenhouse gas emissions neutral industry

The working platform IN4climate.NRW, which is the first of its kind in Germany, aims to develop strategies for how the industrial sector in North Rhine-Westphalia can maintain its high level of competitiveness and generate further growth while also contributing towards achieving the goals set out in the Paris Agreement. Working together in so-called innovation teams, experts from NRW industrial companies, the scientific community and the state government develop ideas on how production processes and value chains can be made climate-neutral in the long run and what the contribution of industry towards the development of climate friendly products could look like.

Partners in the initiative include thyssenkrupp AG. Dr Hans-Jörn Weddige, Group Coordinator Energy, Climate and Environmental Policies, said at the event: “The industrial use of hydrogen that is produced in a climate neutral way will play an important role in the energy transition. If we want to take advantage of all the potential available, we must continue to consistently expand the renewable energy sector.” One of the areas where thyssenkrupp uses hydrogen is in the project for climate friendly steel production in Duisburg, which is funded as part of IN4climate.NRW. In this project, part of the pulverised coal that is used as a reducing agent in the blast furnace is replaced by feeding in hydrogen. This prevents harmful greenhouse gases from even developing. thyssenkrupp’s Carbon2Chem project also works with hydrogen; here it is a matter of transforming CO2 into chemicals. The aim is to achieve virtually carbon neutral steel production.

Collaboration with the EnergieAgentur.NRW

The event was supported by the energy research cluster EnergieForschung.NRW and EnergieAgentur.NRW’s Fuel Cell and Hydrogen, E-Mobility Network NRW. The network also provided professional support for preparing the NRW hydrogen study through its “Expert group for H2 systems”. Dr Thomas Kattenstein, head of the network, explained: “EnergieAgentur.NRW sees the encouraging results of this study on the importance of hydrogen for NRW as a green light for further intensifying networking with companies and research institutes in the state and thereby accompanying the market launch of hydrogen technologies with value creation in NRW.”

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