North Germany gets hydrogen centre for aviation and shipping

2 September 2021
Joint tender by Hamburg, Bremen/Bremerhaven and Stade triumphs

North Germany is to get an "Innovation and Technology Center" (ITZ) for aviation and shipping focusing on fuel cell and hydrogen technology, Andreas Scheuer, German Transport Minister announced Thursday (September 2, 2021). This comes after Bremen/Bremerhaven, Stade and Hamburg won a tender by the German Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI). The so-called ITZ Nord is part of the "National Hydrogen Strategy" adopted by the German government in 2020 and will establish a new "German Center for Future Mobility" network. Emphasis is on the maritime and aeronautical sectors and targeting mainly SMEs and start-ups offering services offered in the three states. The German government will fund the joint project with up to 70 million euros until the end of 2024, Scheuer said during the press conference.

ITZ to offer impulses for Hamburg Metropolitan Region

Commenting on the decision, Peter Tschentscher, Mayor of Hamburg, said: "As the world's third-largest location for civil aviation, a port city and hub of international freight traffic, and central railroad and hub in Europe, Hamburg is the north's capital of mobility." Hydrogen could replace fossil fuels on water, in heavy goods traffic and in aviation and make logistics climate-friendlier. Thus, the future ITZ Nord is "another strong impulse for developing hydrogen technology in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. It helps start-ups and SMEs execute their hydrogen projects," he added, while Scheuer noted: "We are spanning the Hydrogen Innovation and Technology Center across Germany. The sites in the north, south, west and east will address different industrial needs. Here in the north, for example, in the maritime and aeronautical sectors." The decision is an important step towards a "hydrogen country," he added. Other hydrogen centres are to be established in Bavaria, Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia. Up to 290 million euros are to be made available for this until the end of 2024, of which up to 70 million euros for the joint project in the north. The federal states would also contribute financial resources, Scheuer continued.

Boosting competitiveness of SMEs and startups

The BMVI is implementing part of the National Hydrogen Strategy adopted by the German government in June 2020 via the ITZ for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technology in Mobility (Road, Rail, Water, Air). The centre will form part of the "German Center for Mobility of the Future" network and will operate in a application-oriented manner rather than focusing on research and development, according to BMVI. The centre will boost the competitiveness of start-ups, founders and SMEs. A total of 15 concepts from all over Germany were submitted to BMVI.

ITZ North - develop, integrate, test

The concept submitted by Hamburg, Stade and Bremen/Bremerhaven focuses on developing and integrating fuel cell systems, the hybridization of drives, refuelling concepts, logistics, storage and processing green hydrogen and hydrogen-based fuels, as well as testing components and systems. The ITZ North will bundle expertise in standardization and certification and is indicative of the successful co-operation between the three north German states that has existed for many years, according to the Ministry of Economics and Innovation. More than 100 companies including shipyards, aircraft construction, suppliers, energy industry, infrastructure, shipping companies, engineering service providers, certification companies as well as associations, universities and non-university research institutions have expressed their support for the project.

Sources and further information

German Center Mobility of the Future

The German Center Mobility of the Future (DZM) will be spread over several places where the mobility of tomorrow will be rethought and developed. Based on new technology, solutions for people mobility and transporting goods are to be found. Innovative mobility concepts are to be drafted, developed (development centres) and tested (practical campus) in think tanks. Links to science will be established through close co-operation between industry and the corresponding chairs via joint research and innovation projects. The top priorities including tests of new technologies for market maturity and supporting founders. Emphasis is on hydrogen technologies, synthetic fuels, innovative logistics concepts and digital, platform-based mobility concepts.

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