A Hydrogen Roadmap for Berlin

01.10.2020

A study commissioned by the H2Berlin initiative gives an outlook on the potential and possible uses of low-emission hydrogen in Berlin.

The growing city of Berlin is being shaped by its urban energy transition, which primarily focuses on energy decentralisation and the decarbonisation of the economy and transportation. In the coming decades, this will lead to a dynamic load development in the capital, and the corresponding network capacity must be available for this. For Stromnetz Berlin GmbH as the distribution network operator in the German capital, this means that the developments of the urban energy transition must always be followed so that the network can be optimally and efficiently designed for the changing energy world. This study has brought together the key stakeholders in this decisive component for the energy transition at an early stage, which has paved the way for joint work on this complex matter.

Hydrogen is recognised as an important component of the energy transition. This is demonstrated by both the European and German hydrogen strategies. Hydrogen produced from renewable sources is to play a central role in Berlin's journey towards climate neutrality. However, the potential to reduce emissions with hydrogen is still largely untapped in Berlin and throughout Germany.

Therefore, regionally adapted usage strategies are required for the energy carrier of the future. A study by the B2Berlin initiative identified hydrogen potential in Berlin, especially in the heating supply and transport sector. According to the model calculation by the research centre Forschungszentrum Jülich, 9,000 tonnes of hydrogen could be used in the city in 2025 in order to implement the energy transition towards climate neutrality in a cost-effective way.

However, based on a company survey, the authors of the study only come to an estimated hydrogen consumption of 37 tonnes in 2025, so have given the following recommendation for action to bridge this gap:

  • In terms of a German and international role model function, Berlin should help shape the ramp-up of hydrogen use for suitable fields of application.
  • A hydrogen roadmap should structure the approaches identified in the potential study and point out the role hydrogen can play in the urban energy transition.
  • ·       Due to the large number of old buildings in Berlin, some of which have poor thermal insulation and a comparatively high heat requirement, hydrogen should be integrated into the heat supply.
  • Hydrogen vehicles powered by fuel cells should complement electric battery vehicles where particular performance is required.
  • Small initiatives should be merged into a large cross-company and cross-sector lighthouse project for the coordinated market ramp-up of suitable hydrogen applications in the capital.
  • Suitable concepts for the retrofitting of vehicle fleets and combined heat and power plants must be developed, as there is a high level of interest from companies.

About H2Berlin

With the H2Berlin initiative, the companies GASAG, Berliner Wasserbetriebe, Vattenfall, Berliner Stadtwerke, Berliner Stadtreinigung, Stromnetz Berlin, Sustainable Hydrogen and Toyota want to promote the development of a hydrogen economy to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and comply with climate targets in the capital. The initiative is supported by InfraLab Berlin, NOW GmbH, HyCologne, the German Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (DWV) and Berlin Partner. The preparation of the study was supported by Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises.

As a next step, the initiators decided to found an association to promote the hydrogen economy in Berlin. In addition, the first lighthouse project is to be designed, which supports the development of a hydrogen economy in the capital in accordance with the European and German hydrogen strategy.

About the Study

The 52-page study "Hydrogen potential in Berlin 2025" was created on behalf of H2Berlin by the consulting companies umlaut energy GmbH and ETC Energy Transition Consulting GmbH.