Interview with Jonas Höckner, Business Development Manager Hydrogen at EWE:
What is your vision for the energy system of the future? What role will hydrogen play in this?
For us, the energy transition is not a dream of the future. It’s daily business. We are actively seeking to join forces with all stakeholders who are working constructively on intelligent solutions for a climate-neutral future to secure the foundations for future progress and quality of life.
Green hydrogen plays an important role. It has the potential to enable prosperity and climate protection for future generations. In the long term, however, Germany’s hydrogen requirements will have to be covered by a combination of domestic production and imports. An important prerequisite for this is the development of a domestic infrastructure for production, storage, and distribution. We are working with our partners to achieve this.
What contribution does your project make?
The storage site of EWE in Ruedersdorf is characterized by its attractive location in the future hydrogen system. In addition to its proximity to the planned core network and the Berlin metropolitan region, it is the closest storage facility for import and generation projects around Lubmin.
We are therefore currently testing the first small-scale underground hydrogen storage facility as part of the “HyCAVmobil” research project and are providing proof that hydrogen can be stored safely in salt caverns. To this end, extensive tests are being carried out for the operation of the hydrogen cavern, which will also serve as the basis for future storage in large cavern storage facilities with 1,000 times the volume. Overall, this is the basis for making hydrogen produced from renewable energies storable in large quantities and usable as required – for a sustainable and secure energy supply.
What does it take for the project to be a success?
Success requires a sense of reality regarding the climate targets set, transparency with regard to the associated costs and clarity with regard to the framework conditions. As with the core network, this reliable framework must also be created for hydrogen storage in a timely manner to be able to incentivize corresponding projects in line with demand. The storage strategy announced by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action therefore has an important role to play.
Contact of project management:
Business Development Manager Hydrogen
HyCAVmobil: pioneering project for large-scale H₂ storage systems
Functional storage options are needed to ensure that hydrogen can be supplied in line with demand in the future. In a research project, EWE is therefore working with the Institute of Networked Energy Systems at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) to test the storage of pure hydrogen in an underground cavern storage facility – a novelty and pioneering work for the hydrogen economy.
A small-scale cavern for large storage facilities of the future
EWE already operates cavern storage facilities for natural gas in Ruedersdorf, Brandenburg, near Berlin. EWE is now testing whether these are also suitable for hydrogen. To this end, 100% pure hydrogen has been stored underground for the first time since the end of 2023 and the operation of the hydrogen storage facility is being tested.
The resulting cavity 1,000 meters underground has a capacity of 500 m³. This is roughly the size of a detached house – and therefore small compared to conventional underground gas storage facilities. The main aim of the project is to investigate how storage and retrieval affects the quality of the hydrogen and the materials used.
Once the cavern has been completed and successfully tested, the findings of the pilot project can be applied to caverns with a volume 1,000 times larger. These can make a significant contribution to green security of supply, as there are 270 caverns across Germany.
Further information: Hydrogen – long-term storage for renewable power | EWE AG