20. NRWNorth-Rhine Westphalia

Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Network NRW – as part of the EnergieAgentur.NRW – works on behalf of the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). NRW is located in the West of Germany and is the most populous German state with approximately 17.6 million inhabitants.

The Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Network North Rhine-Westphalia

The aim of the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Network North Rhine-Westphalia, which was founded in 2000, is to establish hydrogen and fuel cell technology as a permanent component of the future energy supply, at the same time exploiting fully the technology’s economic opportunities for NRW as an economic location. With a view to the challenges presented by the energy turnaround, the climate protection, the increase in energy efficiency and by the expansion of renewable energies, hydrogen and fuel cell technology is seen as a major key technology in all segments of the energy system.

The principal feature of the Network’s activities is the initiation of co-operative projects, while the focus of the project work has shifted increasingly from research and development to testing and market preparation. The Network is at its members’ disposal as a contact point for developing project ideas and identifying suitable funding programmes, and as a two-way channel of communication with policymakers. Since 2000 the state government and the European Union (European Regional Development Fund – ERDF) have provided around 120 million euros for about 120 hydrogen and fuel cell projects. The total investment volume is 200 million euros. In the project call “HydrogenHyWay.NRW” additional significant funding will be available in 2016 ff.

Projects to prove this approach – including wind power based electrolysis, set-up of the infrastructure of refuelling stations and everyday testing of fuel cell vehicles – are a current focus of the Network’s activities. Additional six hydrogen filling stations will be installed shortly to serve the increasing number of vehicle and bus fleets in NRW. Furthermore, the network is active in the field of the stationary fuel cells. Already today, fuel cells can for example be used at home as CHP units or as uninterrupted or remote power supply for telecommunication installations. Investments into a CHP-system can be funded in an attractive NRW funding program. The Network has helped to ensure that NRW is seen increasingly – also internationally – as one of the leading fuel cell locations in Europe. Beside its membership in the European partnership Hydrogen Fuel Cells and Electro Mobility in European Regions (HyER) and other consortia for mobility this is proven by the settlement of fuel cell companies such as Ballard, Hydrogenics and Ceramic Fuel Cells (now SOLIDpower) in North Rhine-Westphalia.

In order to intensify the exchange of information between its members, the network has established expert groups like “H2-System”, “Power-to-Gas”, “Market” and “Public Transport”. The members meet regularly in order to discuss specific topics in detail. More than 400 members from industry and science are already actively involved in the Network and use the numerous services the Network offers. Also companies and institutes who have to date not operated directly in the field of fuel cell, battery and hydrogen technology, but which are able to make valuable contributions with their expertise to the development of fuel cell and battery systems (and the related components), or to the area of production, storage and transport of hydrogen are explicitly invited to become involved in the Network. The Network membership is also open for companies from abroad and free of charge.

You can find an overview about the current projects in the field of hydrogen and fuel cells: http://www.fuelcell-nrw.de/index.php?id=489&L=4

Electro-mobility and the Model Region

Beside the fuel cell based mobility engagement there are extensive activities on battery electric mobility. The “Masterplan Electromobility NRW” from 2014 describes in detail the targets and measures for NRW. The “Model Region Electromobility Rhine-Ruhr”, which is funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport, is the core piece of the NRW activities in the area of test and demonstration of e-mobility. The target of this program is to bring together all relevant stakeholders from industry, science and public hand to establish e-mobility und practical everyday conditions. The first phase of Model Region E-Mobility Rhine-Ruhr comprised eight projects with 200 vehicles and 530 charging points (2009-2011).

In 2012 the second phase was started, which will last until 2017. The focus issues are:

  • Establishment of e-mobility in company and public fleets
  • Public transport/Intermodality
  • Combination of the generation of renewable energies and use for e-mobility applications
  • International cooperations
  • Development of sustainable business models

14 projects with 70 project partners have been started. The total project budget within the Rhine-Ruhr area accounts up to appr. 50 million €. 630 vehicles are planned, 440 are already in operation. On the infrastructure side, 420 charging points are planned from which appr. 350 have been established. With additional projects in preparation the Model Region Rhine-Ruhr will grow further. The target is to develop the Model Region into a “Demonstration Region E-Mobility NRW”.

The regional project office is coordinating all activities within the model region and serves as an interface between the regional projects and the national program activities.