FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Uniper utility UN01.DE on Tuesday said the emerging market for hydrogen in Germany, funded by the government with billions of euros, needed to secure demand from industry, transportation and also from households for heating.
If the industry joins the market, prices could fall and Uniper could use its gas infrastructure assets and trading expertise for hydrogen, Chief Executive Andreas Schierenbeck told reporters during the revenue call.
“That’s an area we’re good at,” he said, adding that technology is moving forward rapidly, and scalable projects could be built in a few years.
The government in the summer allocated 7 billion euros ($ 8.25 billion) to build green hydrogen in Germany, plus another 2 billion euros for partnerships with other countries.
The aim is to end Germany’s dependence on coal and nuclear power and to harness the production of renewable power for hydrogen to help ultimately reduce the carbonization of energy used in industry.
The so-called green hydrogen can be used as a substitute for gasoline in the transportation industry and can replace gas or heating oil for home heating.
Schierenbeck quoted analysts estimating that Germany’s target of 5 gigawatts (GW) of electrolysis capacity by 2030 – needed to convert green power to hydrogen – could produce 15 terawatt hours (TWh) of hydrogen a year while Germany would need 100 TWh at that stage.
“There will be a huge import gap,” he said.
Schierenbeck said Uniper’s commerce department could handle commercial hydrogen flows and that plans recently put in place for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at Wilhelmshaven could potentially be adapted for the emerging hydrogen economy.
Uniper said last Friday there was not enough interest to deliver LNG to the Wilhelmshaven site.
Uniper also said preliminary results from ongoing discussions with the majority owner of Fortum FORTUM.HE The two companies’ strategic alignment will be presented during the Finnish group capital markets day on 3 December.
Reporting by Vera Eckert, editing by Christoph Steitz and Jane Merriman