Green hydrogen from wind power
In response to the problem, the Heide Region Development Agency has launched the “West Coast 100” real-world laboratory initiative, among other projects. Here, “green hydrogen” is produced from wind energy in a test environment. The hydrogen will then be fed into gas grids and used to produce climate-friendly fuel for aircraft. The waste heat will be used to supply an industrial plant and power a local community. The use of renewables in district heating networks is in high demand in the region. Any company initiating this kind of project can apply for subsidies of up to EUR 1 million from the state’s development bank.
Crude oil refinery gets on board
The crude oil processor Heide Refinery is one of the initiative’s main partners. “We want to find a substitute for the production of hydrogen from fossil fuels,” explains managing director Jürgen Wollschläger. He has high hopes for the technology which converts wind power into hydrogen gas that, crucially, is easy to transport. “In the future, the project could have an impact not only in the Heide region, but worldwide.” The project has already attracted international stakeholders, such as the Danish energy group Ørsted.
The projects are already driving regional structural change: “We expect several thousand direct and indirect jobs in the long term,” says Dirk Burmeister, CEO of the Heide Region Development Agency. The unemployment rate in Dithmarschen has fallen to around 5 percent and the population is growing.