The Linde Group is building the world's largest production plant for the generation and liquefaction of green hydrogen in the Leuna Chemical Park (Saalekreis) at a cost of around €60 million. From mid-2022, the group plans to produce up to 3,200 metric tons of hydrogen using certified green electricity; later, the electricity required will be sourced from renewable energy sources in the region. The Ministry of Economy of Saxony-Anhalt is supporting the construction of the two electrolysers as well as the hydrogen liquefier with 15 million euros from investment funding, the so-called Joint Task "Improvement of the Regional Economic Structure" (GRW).
"Linde's major investment in Leuna is an important milestone in developing Saxony-Anhalt into a leading international hydrogen model region in the coming years," Saxony-Anhalt's Minister of Economy Prof. Dr. Armin Willingmann emphasized on Wednesday. "Green hydrogen is highly interesting for vehicle manufacturers and energy-intensive industries, among others, in times of climate change and the energy transition. Thus, there is considerable potential for Saxony-Anhalt in terms of further company settlements as well as the creation of high-quality jobs along the hydrogen value chain. That is why the Ministry of Economy is providing targeted support for corporate investments and research projects in this future field."
"Hydrogen can make a significant contribution to climate protection and can be used in many sectors," explained Andreas Dietrich, Head of On-Site Account Management at Linde. "Leuna, with its excellent infrastructure of hydrogen pipelines and gas storage facilities, is ideally suited for the construction of an industrial-scale electrolysis plant. In addition, we have been supplying industrial gases to our customers located there as well as the surrounding network for many decades - integrated into one of the largest industrial clusters in Germany." According to Dietrich, the new plant is scheduled to begin test operations on July 1, 2022, and continuous operations could begin in October 2022.
Scientists at the Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes CBP in Leuna (Saalekreis, Germany) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems IMWS (Halle, Germany) are also researching the production of green hydrogen by electrolysis (the separation of water into hydrogen and oxygen using electricity) on an industrial scale. Their research projects, including the ELP electrolysis testing and experimental platform, are supported by the Ministry of Economy of Saxony-Anhalt with more than eight million euros. The ELP will have laboratories, offices and a technical center. It will be used in the future to test and evaluate the operation of various electrolysis plants on an industrial scale.
Saxony-Anhalt's lignite mining region could benefit from hydrogen boom
"Saxony-Anhalt is in an excellent position not only to take a leading role in hydrogen technologies, but also to successfully shape structural change in southern Saxony-Anhalt," Willingmann said. "If we consistently focus on future technologies such as hydrogen, we could more than compensate for the loss of jobs and value creation caused by the phase-out of coal in the south of the state."
For this reason, he said, the Ministry of Economy is also supporting the establishment of the new Fraunhofer Institute for Hydrogen and Carbon Process Technology (IWKP).
Over the past four years in particular, Saxony-Anhalt has already become an attractive location for national and international investors, he said. "Settlements such as the Farasis battery factory in Bitterfeld-Wolfen or UPM's biorefinery in Leuna exemplify that Saxony-Anhalt is increasingly developing into a state of future technologies, where high-quality jobs are being created," Willingmann emphasized. "We will therefore continue to make targeted investments in business and science in the coming years to ensure that this encouraging development continues."