Generating green hydrogen fuel from wind power - that won’t work. Yes it does! This is clearly proved by the largest sustainable hydrogen mobility project to date, eFarm. In the district of North Frisia, Schleswig-Holstein, the joint project initiated by GP JOULE is implementing a hydrogen infrastructure from generation to processing and fleet use in electric vehicles using renewable energies only. The aim is to introduce a sustainable, collective system to society at large based on renewable energy. Producing, transporting, processing and marketing green hydrogen in a joint project is an ambitious undertaking that requires in-depth business and technical know-how and also the power of persuasion.
The eFarm project provides supply security in North Frisia for 100 % green, regionally produced hydrogen from wind power, thus paving the way for all citizens and companies who want to purchase a hydrogen vehicle. To meet the expected mobility needs, the project includes:
At the beginning of April 2020, the green light was given in Bosbüll for the first construction phase of the eFarm project: In order to be able to convert the wind power produced here into storable hydrogen, two of the total of five electrolysers were installed here. 3 further electrolysers in Langenhorn, Dörpum and Reußenköge followed.
But how do you get the wind get into the tank? The hydrogen produced by the electrolysers is first filled into mobile storage containers and transported by truck to the two hydrogen filling stations in Husum and Niebüll. Here it is further compressed in order to enable fuelling of the fuel cell buses, hydrogen-powered trucks and cars. Refuelling takes only a few minutes, one full tank is enough to drive a bus about 350 kilometres or a car about 600 kilometres.
The e-Farm project could only be realised after several years of development work by our engineers and technicians. In 2016, GP JOULE launched a feasibility study with the support of the state of Schleswig-Holstein.
The two fuel cell buses, which will be purchased for this project and used in regional public transport, are only the beginning of the new hydrogen mobility in North Frisia: Since 20 further investors are involved in the eFarm project, there is already a great willingness on their part to invest in more than 100 hydrogen vehicles, from passenger cars to trucks, and to use the green, regional hydrogen supply. This finally creates a real connection and benefit between regional renewable energy production and local energy consumption.
The ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the first hydrogen filling station was held in Niebüll in May 2020.
In order to achieve the climate targets for heating, industry and transport, it is absolutely necessary to implement the use of renewable energies in all energy sectors. However, in order to make these available, storable and thus usable for all sectors, a large proportion of solar and wind power must be converted into hydrogen in the future. It is also important for the transformation of energy and therefore mobility to be accepted and shaped by the citizens. This means that acceptance management and participation are also part of the eFarm strategy: In addition to the possibility of direct citizen participation, a dialogue process was also initiated, with which the necessary acceptance, including its influencing variables, was systematically recorded in a monitoring process.
"The e-Farm project makes it possible to build up a complete value-added chain of renewable energies and to make it directly usable and tangible for everyone in the region. With the e-Farm we are creating additional value from renewable energies locally, where they are produced. This strengthens the acceptance for the further expansion of wind and solar power and shows that everyone in the region can benefit directly from the energy turnaround.”
Ove Petersen, founder and CEO of GP JOULE GmbH
Waste heat is generated during the production of hydrogen. The North Frisian eFarm project provides this for the local supply of heat. With this type of sectoral cross-linkage, the cooperative project proves that it is taking the sustainable use of resources seriously.
Based around the joint project, the company eFarming GmbH & Co. KG, which was founded by GP JOULE, will work together with citizen's wind and solar parks, companies and municipal utilities to set up and operate a modularly expandable hydrogen production and distribution network in North Frisia.
The ongoing eFarm project, which is scheduled to begin regular operation with the handover of two fuel cell buses for public transport and the opening of the second hydrogen filling station, was supported with a total of eight million euros by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure as part of the funding guideline "National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Innovation Programme".
“If people can see the connection between renewable energy production and consumption, as well as the wide-ranging benefits then they will accept the energy turnaround. To this end, eFarm will enable direct citizen participation"
Ove Petersen, GP JOULE co-founder and managing director
Enabling citizens to experience renewable energies and participate in regional value creation creates the necessary acceptance of the project. In view of this, project supervision includes systematic acceptance management in addition to direct citizen participation: in this way, a dialogue process is initiated in which acceptance is systematically monitored in the region, indicating influence variables.