Plans for Germany’s biggest green hydrogen (H2) mobility project to date have taken a step forward.

The project eFarm involves the creation of a joint H2 infrastructure from production and processing through to fleet utilisation, for which the GP JOULE Group laid the foundations with a feasibility study in March 2017.

Located in North Frisia, the project will provide supply security for 100% green and regionally produced H2 to residents and companies who wish to purchase a H2-powered vehicle.

“If people can see the connection between renewable energy production and consumption, as well as the wide-ranging benefits that so many can tap into in terms of value creation and prosperity – then they will accept the energy turnaround.”

Ove Petersen, GP JOULE Managing Director

The construction of five H2 production sites and two H2 fuelling stations in Husam and Niebüll, along with the acquisition of two fuel cell buses and five fuel cell passenger cars, was rated by the Federal Ministry of Transport as eligible for financial support and investment funding for the project was recently approved.

GP JOULE’s aim in pursuing the project is to enhance the value of electric power in the region and tap into new markets for wind energy.

The project demonstrates an alternative to the controversial option of grid expansion, enabling the richly available wind energy to be put to local use in Schleswig-Holstein.

“We deliberately chose the name eFarm: the aim is to introduce shared, sustainable management of renewable energy sources to society. We will jointly produce, transport, process and market H2 – in the same way as the cooperative dairy industry,” explained GP JOULE co-Founder and Managing Director Ove Petersen.

“If people can see the connection between renewable energy production and consumption, as well as the wide-ranging benefits that so many can tap into in terms of value creation and prosperity – then they will accept the energy turnaround.”

“For this purpose, eFarm will allow for direct public participation, involving lots of protagonists and ensuring they are well prepared for participation in the sectoral cross-linkage market.”

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Source: GP JOULE

Based around the joint initiative previously known as the ‘Hydrogen Mobility Project’, the company eFarming GmbH & Co. KG, founded by GP JOULE, will now set up and operate a H2 production and distribution grid in North Frisia on a modular, expandable basis.

The ongoing project eFarm is being subsidised by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure with a total of €8m ($9.1m) as part of the National Innovation Programme Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology funding directive. The implementation of the funding directive is being coordinated by NOW GmbH.

The two fuel-cell buses will be acquired and deployed as part of regular public transport services in the district of North Frisia in time for the launch in 2020 so as to stimulate demand and consumption.

For the production of green H2 from wind power – which will be available for fuelling at two public filling stations – five electrolysers (225 kW each) will be installed by the end of 2019 at suitable sites, close to the wind power plants and near heat grids.

Since heat is also generated in the production of H2, this will also be fed into the local heat supply network.

The H2 will be then be filled into mobile storage containers and transported by truck to the two H2 filling stations. Here the H2 will be further compressed in order to enable fuelling of the buses as required, as well as additional H2-powered trucks and cars.

The fuelling process takes just a few minutes; one full tank is sufficient to travel 350 km in a bus or 600 km in a car, for example. As such, the vehicles will run 100% on green H2 right from the start.

60 private individuals and entrepreneurs in the region have already expressed an interest in acquiring so-called fuel-cell vehicles and purchasing H2 locally as soon as the H2 filling stations go into operation.