Siemens to build CO₂-free hydrogen production plant

30 September 2020

Siemens Smart Infrastructure and WUN H2 GmbH signed a contract to build one of the largest hydrogen production plants in Germany. It will be built in Wunsiedel in the north of Bavaria. With a power demand of 6 MW in the initial development phase, the plant will run solely on renewable energy and will be CO2-free. The electrolysis plant from Siemens Energy will have the capacity to produce over 900 tons of hydrogen per year in this first phase. When fully expanded, it will be able to supply up to 2000 tons. Groundbreaking is scheduled for the end of this year and commissioning at the end of 2021. 

Germany has undertaken to be greenhouse gas-neutral by 2050. To this end, all sectors that use energy, such as transportation and industry, must press ahead with decarbonisation. It is considered that the plant in Wunsiedel will serve as a model for all of Germany. It will convert the renewable energy available in this region, mainly from photovoltaics and wind power, into storable hydrogen, making it available for applications in transport and industry. This storage component will come into its own on sunny and windy days when more energy from renewable sources is produced than needed. 

The electrolysis plant will be built in the Wunsiedel Energy Park and will give the northern Bavaria region its own hydrogen source. Until now, gas for end customers had to travel a relatively long way. The hydrogen will be filled into gas cylinders for local distribution and shipped by truck to local and regional end customers, mostly in Upper Franconia, the Upper Palatinate, southern Thuringia and Saxony, as well as Western Bohemia (Czech Republic). The plant will also help ease grid bottlenecks and provide flexibility for the grid. A public hydrogen filling station for trucks and buses may be added later at the same location to aid the conversion of heavy-duty traffic and public transportation to CO2-free drive technology. 

At Wunsiedal hydrogen will be produced from the electrolysis of water via a Silyzer 300 PEM (proton exchange membrane) unit from Siemens Energy. The unit is said to feature high efficiency at high power density as well as low-maintenance and reliable operation without the use of chemicals. 

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