Kiel coastal plant to be converted to hydrogen

15 June 2023

Stadtwerke Kiel and INNIO are working on a conversion project at the Kiel coastal power plant that will allow it to operate on 100% green hydrogen by 2035, ten years ahead of the German government’s climate targets. With this, the highly flexible power station, which describes itself as “Europe’s most advanced large-scale piston engine based CHP plant”, would become entirely climate neutral, setting new standards for clean energy supply.

Above: Kiel coastal power plant

An important requirement, though, for keeping to the ambitious schedule is that sufficient green hydrogen is available in time and on economic terms, say Stadtwerke Kiel and INNIO.

“We need flexible backup power plants so that Kiel and Germany can be securely supplied with power – especially when the wind does not blow and the sun does not shine. There is no getting around this basic law of physics,” asserted Dr Jo¨rg Teupen, board member for technology and personnel at Stadtwerke Kiel AG. “In order to achieve climate neutrality for this type of power plant, hydrogen must be readily available to us. However, this is dependent on Europe having an abundance of hydrogen available over the coming years,” said Teupen.

The two companies’ joint ambition is founded upon the “Eight-Point Program: Route to Climate Neutrality” established by Stadtwerke Kiel AG, with the original aim of being fully climate neutral in the generation of power and provision of district heating by 2040 at the latest. The energy supplier has now brought this date forward by five years to 2035 based on its hydrogen project.

“We are setting new global standards in collaboration with Stadtwerke Kiel. The coastal power plant in Kiel is the first of its kind globally that could theoretically be converted to green hydrogen today. Nevertheless, for the conversion to happen no later than 2035, policymakers need to put the correct framework in place right now,” observed Dr Olaf Berlien, president and CEO of INNIO.

INNIO says its Jenbacher engines “are the first hydrogen engines at megawatt scale” and the company claims to be “among the first to be able to convert the majority of its installed engines to run on green hydrogen.”

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