RWE Generation SE

RWE and badenova plan to set up a green hydrogen system for the Upper Rhine region

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  • Construction of 50 MW electrolysis planned at RADAG run-of-river power plant in Albbruck
  • Around 8.5 km hydrogen pipeline on the High Rhine from Waldshut to Albbruck planned, start of construction expected in early 2024
  • Extension of hydrogen infrastructure to Grenzach under consideration
  • Potential customers in the region between Waldshut and Lörrach and Basel (CH)

Essen/Freiburg, 19 April 2023

RWE and badenova want to jointly build a nucleus for the production, transport and distribution of green hydrogen on the Upper Rhine. The two companies have now presented their plans to the public for the first time.

Sopna Sury, COO Hydrogen RWE Generation, says: "With the planned electrolysis plant at the RADAG run-of-river power plant in Albbruck, we will be able to provide green hydrogen here in significant quantities from the end of 2026. The green electricity for this will come from renewable sources in the region. With this project, RWE is helping industrial and transport customers on the Upper Rhine to convert their processes to green hydrogen and thus achieve their climate targets. By cooperating with the project partners, we are contributing to the development of a hydrogen infrastructure that will connect the region to emerging hydrogen networks in Germany and Switzerland."

"For the energy and heat turnaround, we need a mix of regeneratively generated electrons and molecules such as green hydrogen," badenova CEO Heinz-Werner Hölscher comments on the project. For the decarbonisation of industry, the supplier from Freiburg is now planning the first eight kilometres of hydrogen pipeline on the High Rhine. "To secure the industrial location in the border triangle, we are actively driving forward the gas grid transformation to H2 grids with industry partners as part of the 3H2 initiative," explains Hölscher.

"For the municipality, the site selection is another milestone on the way to the future. The synergy effects with the Upper Rhine Health Park, the PFA area and the association sewage treatment plant are obvious and round off the project. We actively support the energy transition and will actively support the project," says Stefan Kaiser, the mayor of the municipality of Albbruck.

RWE is planning to build an electrolysis plant with a capacity of 50 megawatts in Albbruck next to RADAG's run-of-river power plant. The plant will use green electricity from the region to produce up to 8,000 tonnes of green hydrogen annually. The oxygen produced during electrolysis in Albbruck and the process heat are to be used in the district's planned health park, in the new quarter on the site of the former Albbruck paper mill (PFA) and in the neighbouring sewage treatment plant.

In parallel, the badenova infrastructure subsidiary badenovaNETZE is planning the construction of a new hydrogen pipeline from Waldshut to Albbruck to reach industrial and transport customers on both sides of the Upper Rhine. This is a crucial initiative to keep the local business location attractive for industry, as the connection to the European hydrogen long-distance network, the so-called European Hydrogen Backbone, is not planned until the final expansion stage around 2040. The new route is to form the backbone of the future hydrogen supply along the High Rhine, and at the same time enable the connection of Baden-Württemberg to the European and national hydrogen infrastructure. The feasibility study initiated for this is about to be completed, so that construction can then be implemented, probably by 2025. For badenova, this is an essential cornerstone of the regional energy and heat turnaround in order to shape a future worth living for generations to come.

Starting from the approximately 8.5 km long pipeline section from Waldshut to Albbruck, an expansion of the infrastructure on the High Rhine in a westerly and easterly direction is possible and is currently being examined in order to extend the hydrogen pipeline to the border triangle of Germany, Switzerland and France. In addition, the connection to existing infrastructure is possible. For cross-border networking and connection to a parallel Swiss hydrogen network, badenova and RWE are in dialogue with the energy utility IWB (Industrielle Werke Basel), which together with Fritz Meyer AG are planning to take over distribution on the Swiss side. The plan is to connect to the Swiss grid via a possible Rhine crossing. 

As part of the funding programme "Climate Protection and Value Creation through Hydrogen (KWH2)" of the Ministry of the Environment of the State of Baden-Württemberg, badenova has received funding for the planned hydrogen pipeline. The Minister of the Environment, Thekla Walker, handed over the funding notification in Stuttgart on 4 April. To ensure the economic viability of the project, RWE and badenova intend to apply for further funding.

Further information on the project: www.badenovanetze.de/wasserstoff

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