h2herten: Wind power in a storage box

Wind power to hydrogen, hydrogen to vehicle propulsion: The H2Herten User Centre shows how hydrogen and fuel technologies can provide us with CO2-neutral and decentralised energy in the future.

KlimaExpo.NRW has now qualified the simulation and knowledge centre as a project for its exhibition of achievement, making it a pioneer project for the State. Wind turbines can stand idle even when the wind blows strong: Sometimes Mother Nature overwhelms the capacity of our electricity grid networks, especially in sparsely populated areas. Consequently, wind farms have to be controlled and occasionally down-regulated so that the grid remains stable. One possible solution for the future is to store excess wind power. "Wind powered electrolysis" is the name of the process, which uses green electricity (from wind power), to produce a fuel gas, such as hydrogen, and reconvert it back to electricity again as required.

Engine for progress:

  • savings of 250 t of CO2 per year
  • system-integrated approach: a first-time combination of various hydrogen technologies
  • participation and cooperation of regional firms and research institutions
  • structural change: a former mine becomes a technology location
  • guided tours and presentations contribute to increasing acceptance of the Energiewende

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Photo: h2herten

The h2herten user centre stands on the site of the former Ewald mine. In the background, an old winding tower can be seen.

From coal to energy of the future

H2Herten offers a glimpse into the future at the site of the former Zeche Ewald coal mine: The Centre of Excellence for hydrogen and fuel cell technology has created a CO2-neutral, self-sufficient power supply system based on wind power electrolysis here, with resources from the State of NRW. With H2Herten, the city has become a focal point for research, application and demonstration of alternative energy and decentralised power supply. Today, in presenting the Head of Planning and Building Control for Herten, Volker Lindner, with the certificate of project qualification through the KlimaExpo.NRW initiative, Wolfgang Jung, Managing Director of KlimaExpo.NRW, declared this step to be: "A time of transition and a strategy for the future for the former coal town of Herten."

H2Herten will be a climate protection ambassador for NRW

Starting this year, KlimaExpo.NRW has been searching through the climate protection projects in the State for examples, which demonstrate the economic and social progress, caused by climate change protection measures, particularly well. H2Herten will be an exhibit of a growing exhibition of achievements, over eight years, which indicate the region’s potential for climate protection.

The User Centre has become a place of simulation and knowledge exchange for hydrogen technologies: The wind gas power plant, which annually converts 200,000 kilowatt hours of electricity from a wind turbine plant, located at neighbouring Bergehalde Hoppenbruch, into 6,500 kilograms of hydrogen, is booked by companies and universities for experiments. Wind and PV supply the building throughout the year with environmentally friendly electricity. The wind gas power plant also produces hydrogen gas, which is stored or converted back into electricity in fuel cells. In the future, the gas will also be transferred into the tanks of regional hydrogen vehicles. The Ewald grounds are home to four hydrogen filling stations in NRW.

The User Centre also offers the hydrogen and fuel cell industry a great deal of "room" for development: 3,000 square metres of office and equipment space are available, with 15 specialist companies and institutions already located there. "With the User Centre, we have created a development site for the industry in Herten," added Dieter Kwapis, Director of the Herten Technology Centre. "We are pleased to give our city a modern face and go at least one step toward a climate-friendly future with KlimaExpo.NRW."

User center h2herten projectvideo

Video: KlimaExpo.NRW

Photo: private

"We are delighted to be part of this and see our selection as a KlimaExpo.NRW qualified project as encouragement to further expand the h2herten user centre and to establish the Ewald location as an anchor point for the transformation of the energy system in NRW.”

Volker Lindner, Deputy Mayor of the City of Herten and chairperson of the Ruhr h2 Network

Partners and sponsors

  • h2herten
  • Landesregierung NRW