Making flying, building and heating more sustainable: the WESTKÜSTE 100 real laboratory.
The WESTKÜSTE 100 project is set to establish a regional hydrogen economy on an industrial scale in Schleswig-Holstein, a strong wind energy region with excellent geological storage conditions and innovative companies looking to actively shape the future and make a substantial contribution to achieving climate protection goals.
The WESTKÜSTE 100 project will be delivered by a group of companies and institutions from across different sectors: EDF Germany, Holcim Germany, OGE, Ørsted, Raffinerie Heide, Stadtwerke Heide and thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions as well as the Heide region development agency and Westküste University of Applied Sciences.
Integration of different material cycles for green hydrogen
The project community wants to produce green hydrogen from offshore wind and also recover the waste heat generated during this process. The hydrogen will be used to produce climate-friendly aircraft fuels or be fed into gas grids. The production of aircraft fuels without any fossil sources will involve the use of unavoidable CO2 emissions from a local cement plant. What’s special and innovative about this real laboratory project is the way it connects different material cycles within an existing regional infrastructure.
Project receives award in "Real laboratories of the energy transition" idea contest
With this research and development approach, we are one of the winners in the "Reallabore der Energiewende" ("Real Laboratories of the Energy Transition") idea contest of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. Real laboratories are meant to accelerate the transfer of technology and innovation from research to practice, enabling technical and non-technical ideas and innovations to be developed and tested under real conditions and on an industrial scale. Our project will now be funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics over several years.
Sustainable business model
Jürgen Wollschläger, Managing Director of Raffinerie Heide and project coordinator: "We have a clear vision in the WESTKÜSTE 100 project team: the partners focus on long-term cooperation projects ranging from the generation of green electricity to the production of synthetic hydrocarbons, thereby creating the nucleus for sustainable business models enabling the transition to renewables and decarbonisation."
The idea is to start the five-year project with a new 30 MW electrolysis plant, which will provide insights into the operation, maintenance, control and grid support capabilities of the equipment in preparation for the next scale-up step, which could be a 700 MW electrolysis plant fed with electricity from an offshore wind farm.
WESTKÜSTE 100 real laboratory project approach is holistic
The renewable energy generated by wind turbines will be used to generate green hydrogen by electrolysis at the Heide refinery. This will be fed into a new hydrogen grid, which will connect the refinery, the hydrogen storage facility, a hydrogen filling station and the existing municipal natural gas grid of Stadtwerke Heide. Hydrogen will be fed into the existing natural gas network of Stadtwerke Heide. A cavern will serve as a hydrogen storage facility, enabling the project to deliver a continuous flow of hydrogen despite the fluctuating wind conditions.
Opportunities for the decarbonisation of entire industrial sectors
The project will also examine whether the oxygen produced during electrolysis can be fed into the combustion process of a local cement plant, which would significantly reduce the plant's nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. In return, the carbon dioxide (CO2) generated by the cement plant would be used as a raw material together with the green hydrogen in the refinery to produce synthetic hydrocarbons, for example, as aviation fuel or a chemical raw material such as methanol. This would be an important contribution to the decarbonisation of the cement industry. In the aviation sector – the fastest growing transport sector in Germany and the EU – a synthetic green fuel would be a breakthrough in decarbonisation.
An additional plus point: the process heat recovered can be fed into an existing, modified heat network and used, for example, in an industrial park.