Simulation Model for the Production and Use of Hydrogen in the European Metropolitan Region of Nuremberg

Presentation of the hydrogen study at EnCN (Source: EnCN)
Presentation of the hydrogen study at EnCN (Source: EnCN)

The Energie Campus Nürnberg and its partners today presented the study “Hydrogen in the Nuremberg Metropolitan Region – Analysis of Competencies, Opportunities, and Challenges”. In addition to the Energie Campus Nürnberg, the partners in the preparation of the study were the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, the Nuremberg University of Applied Sciences Georg Simon Ohm, the ENERGIEregion Nürnberg e.V. and the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS. The study was commissioned by the Economics and Science Department of the City of Nuremberg. It certifies: The city and metropolitan region of Nuremberg have the potential to become an innovation center for hydrogen technologies – combined with new opportunities for value creation and employment.

150 players are currently active in the field of hydrogen in the Nuremberg Metropolitan Region, 90 of them companies. The hydrogen community is strongly concentrated in the city of Nuremberg – with 25 companies with hydrogen activities alone – and in the surrounding cities and districts. The opportunities for further growth are great: it is forecast that the metropolitan region can generate between a quarter of a billion and a billion euros in new value added in the hydrogen economy by 2030.

Economics and Science Officer Dr. Michael Fraas, who is also chairman of the competence and cluster initiative ENERGIEregion Nürnberg e.V., says: “Nuremberg has what it takes to become a technology provider region for future-proof hydrogen technologies. Hydrogen is already contributing to regional value creation, especially by exporting technology and generating knowledge. Up to 8,000 new jobs could be created in the region over the next few years; if we play our cards right. In short, we are a hydrogen opportunity region!”

The Nuremberg Metropolitan Region’s core hydrogen competencies are in the areas of electrolysis plants, hydrogen storage (especially liquid organic hydrogen carriers), and fuel cells for stationary and mobile applications. Complementary economic sectors such as mechanical engineering, process engineering, or industrial IoT are also well developed and can quickly adapt their offerings to the ramp-up of hydrogen technologies and contribute important know-how. At the Nuremberg location, a top research and development cluster has formed around the Nuremberg Energy Campus and the Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nuremberg for Renewable Energies.

Markus Rützel, Managing Director of the Energie Campus Nürnberg, emphasizes: “As an interdisciplinary energy research cooperation, the Energie Campus Nürnberg bundles and coordinates the various competencies that its partners contribute to cross-institutional research. Like all other energy topics, the development of hydrogen technologies requires a holistic approach in order to implement a system-oriented solution concept in the market. Starting with the production of green hydrogen from renewable energies, through transport and storage to application, the Nuremberg Energy Campus is the research partner in the region that actively uses both technology knowledge and networking with other research institutions and companies. These success factors will be expanded even more for the region in the future.”

In the benchmark with other metropolitan regions in Germany, Nuremberg positions itself in fourth place. According to a recent study by the European Patent Office and the International Energy Agency, Nuremberg is also a TOP 5 regional cluster in Germany for hydrogen innovations, measured by the number of patent applications.

Priv.-Doz. Dr. Tassilo Schuster, Senior Project Manager at Fraunhofer IIS, says: “The focus of the local hydrogen economy will be on the product-related value chain, i.e. the development, production, distribution and export of specific hydrogen key technologies. Special attention of future efforts should therefore be paid to building a high-performance labor market with a high availability of well-trained specialists, shaping a hydrogen-affine education and research landscape with a direct transfer of research results to industry, and creating favorable framework conditions for business activity. The strength of related industries in the metropolitan region, such as mechanical engineering or specialized providers of digital solutions, also contributes to the attractiveness of the metropolitan region as a technology provider region.”

The study “Hydrogen in the Nuremberg Metropolitan Region – Analysis of Competencies, Opportunities, and Challenges” also sheds light on the application potential of hydrogen in the Nuremberg Metropolitan Region. The region is initially at a disadvantage here compared to other regions. With an overall lower generation potential of green electricity from renewable energies compared to gas regions near the coast, there is also a lack of large-scale consumers for hydrogen locally, such as large steel mills or the chemical industry.

With an accelerated expansion of renewable energies, green hydrogen could be produced by electrolysis on site in the amount of approx. 9 to 10 TWh with surplus electrical energy in 2030.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Reinhard German, Lab of Computer Science 7 (Computer Networks and Communication Systems) at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, explains: “However, strong fluctuations in the available power with very large power peaks are to be expected. With maximum expansion of renewable energies and battery capacities, electrolysis can thus be operated at all in 2030 at most 32 percent of the time, and often only with low outputs. To completely absorb the surplus, electrolysis plants with very large capacities would therefore be required, which would then be underutilized. However, if one accepts the low utilization to be expected in the metropolitan region and also uses power peaks of renewable generation, there is a not inconsiderable generation potential for hydrogen. It is therefore important to identify combined operating strategies for power system assets in the future, especially for batteries and hydrogen storage.” As part of the study, the Lab of Computer Science 7 had simulated the energy flows in the region in different scenarios.

Possible application scenarios for green hydrogen are in the regional paper, glass, and metal industries, as well as, in perspective, in heavy-duty transport and in the use of electrolysers to stabilize the power grid. Good locations for hydrogen production are found where the hydrogen and byproducts of electrolysis (heat, oxygen) can be used directly, such as near wastewater treatment plants or district heating networks.

“Even if it is clear today that hydrogen will not become established for large parts of the mobility sector for efficiency reasons, there are still large areas of energy-intensive industry that cannot be electrified in the foreseeable future,” Prof. Dr. Jürgen Karl from the Chair of Energy Process Engineering at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg points out. “Process heat generation in particular often cannot do without hydrogen or hydrogen derivatives.”

If the mobility and logistics sector is examined more closely, very specific fields of application emerge in which hydrogen drives can be worthwhile. Scientific research is currently taking place in the field of heavy-duty transport, among others, but also for rail solutions and in aerospace.

Prof. Dr. Frank Opferkuch, head of the Competence Center Energy Technology at the Nuremberg University of Applied Sciences Georg Simon Ohm, says: “Heavy-duty vehicles with fuel cells or hydrogen engines can trigger a demand of up to 240 tons of hydrogen per day in the Nuremberg metropolitan region. To supply these vehicles, up to 55 new H2 refueling stations will then be needed along the traffic axes. This means that the mobility and logistics sector has great potential for application and value creation. However, future environmental regulations, the upcoming introduction of automated driving, the further digitization of logistics, the still insufficient degree of maturity of new, competing drive systems, and the still incomplete supply systems for electricity and hydrogen currently make forecasts on quantities and timing uncertain.”

The study concludes with recommendations for action to strengthen the region’s technological expertise and leverage its economic potential. It is recommended to bundle the scientific competencies of universities, colleges, and applied research in a hydrogen knowledge center and to create a metropolitan coordination office on hydrogen; this should further promote networking, knowledge, and technology transfer.

Simon Reichenwallner, network manager of ENERGIEregion Nürnberg e.V., confirms: “This is precisely our task now. On the one hand, we need to network the regional players even better in order to accelerate both technology development and application in practice. On the other hand, it is time to increase supraregional visibility and communicate that our companies and scientific institutions are ready to make their contribution to the global energy and mobility transition. This is also where our hydrogen metropolitan region Nuremberg hy+ initiative comes in, which we want to further expand on the basis of the study results.”

Economics and Science Officer Dr. Fraas concludes: “The study clearly shows us what we can do to further strengthen our position as a hydrogen competence region. This homework will not be left undone, but we will tackle it together. Our research lighthouse Energie Campus Nürnberg and the competence and cluster initiative ENERGIEregion Nürnberg e.V. play a key role in this.”

The study can be downloaded from the bibliographic index. Link

Source: EnCN

Further article in the Zeitung für kommunale Wirtschaft (ZfK)