National Hydrogen Council - together for a green future
No one can manage the energy transition alone; it will only be successful if politicians and industry work together. As one of Germany's biggest CO2 emitters, thyssenkrupp takes its responsibility seriously and contributes the expertise and perspective of industry to the German National Hydrogen Council. Dr. Arnd Köfler, Chief Technology Officer at thyssenkrupp Steel, is part of the panel and explains why a national hydrogen strategy is needed.
Boosting decarbonization with hydrogen
The steel industry currently accounts for seven percent of Germany's CO2 emissions. But that can change by using hydrogen and renewable energies in so-called direct reduction plants. In doing so, the steel industry can be a decisive lever in reducing nationwide emissions.
Essential for the decarbonization: green hydrogen. In addition, quite a lot of it, says Dr. Arnd Köfler: "thyssenkrupp Steel will be the biggest single consumer of CO2-neutral hydrogen in Europe." Therefore, it is time to think about hydrogen, its production and its distribution.
Overcoming challenges and creating change with expertise
Politicians have also recognized that hydrogen plays a significant role in the success of the energy transition. That is why the German National Hydrogen Strategy (NWS) was initiated around two years ago, and the German National Hydrogen Council (NWR) was founded. The council consists of 26 high-ranking experts from industry, science and civil society. One of them is Arnd Köfler, Chief Technology Officer at thyssenkrupp Steel.
"The aim of the German National Hydrogen Council is to create a framework for the production, transport, use and further aplications of hydrogen and corresponding innovations and investments," explains Köfler. The German government recently doubled the national expansion target for 2030 to 28 TWh. For Köfler, the councils essential task is, therefore, above all, to implement the strategy quickly.
"The rapid expansion of renewable energies is essential for the climate change and the key to decarbonization," says Köfler. Just how significant the impact can be quickly becomes apparent when looking at his workplace in Europe's largest steel mill. After all, the steel industry will be a major consumer of green hydrogen. Furthermore, the usage of hydrogen will also reach it greatest efficiency here. "With one ton of hydrogen used, 26 tons of CO2 are avoided at thyssenkrupp Steel," explains Köfler. To meet the sharp rise in hydrogen demand in the long term, thyssenkrupp Steel is already cooperating with partners to secure national and international supply sources.
Only a diversity of perspectives enables change
The council includes representatives from both industry and environmental associations. Because, as Köfler is sure, "An issue as big as the implementation of the hydrogen strategy can only succeed if everyone involved works together." Even if the different council members have variable priorities, they are all united by a common goal. They all want to establish hydrogen technologies as the key to decarbonization.
"For decarbonization to succeed, the rapid development of an appropriate hydrogen supply infrastructure is necessary from a technical perspective," explains Köfler. In addition, for the council members, creating the necessary regulatory framework is one of the goals for the near future. "Complete climate neutrality can only succeed if the supply of green hydrogen from renewable energies is ensured in the long term."
Once the infrastructure and framework conditions are in place, the most important thing for a climate-neutral industry is to have enough green and affordable hydrogen available. The steel mill in Duisburg alone will need around 720,000 tons of hydrogen per year in the long term.
Can this demand realistically be met? For Arnd Köfler, it is possible: "I am convinced that it will be possible to meet the undoubtedly enormous demand in the long term. But we must not think only in national categories here: major sources of hydrogen will be outside Europe."