Hydrogen Cavern for Mobility

Hydrogen Cavern for Mobility


©EWE/C3 Visual Lab

©EWE/C3 Visual Lab

HyCAVmobil (Hydrogen Cavern for Mobility) - Investigation of salt caverns as a potential storage site for hydrogen

News: EWE completes hydrogen test cavern and plans to start hydrogen storage in late summer! (13.03.2023)

As EWE announced last week, the hydrogen test cavern in Rüdersorf near Berlin has been successfully completed. Over the past three months, an underground cavern with a volume of about 500 cubic meters has been created and various leak tests have been successfully implemented. The initial filling with hydrogen and extensive test operation of the cavern are scheduled for late summer this year. The project, called "HyCAVmobil", is intended to provide important findings that can also be transferred to larger caverns with 1,000 times the volume, such as those that exist in Lower Saxony. This should eventually make large-scale hydrogen storage possible.

Learn more: https://www.ewe.com/de/media-center/pressemitteilungen/2023/03/wasserstoffkaverne-ist-fertiggestellt-ewe-ag

For a reliable supply of clean hydrogen, a holistic infrastructure must be built, as is also the case with fossil gases. In addition to the expansion or conversion of the grid, this also includes the storage of the gas. How we can reliably store hydrogen in the long term is becoming increasingly important for sector coupling.

The HyCAVmobil project of EWE Gasspeicher GmbH and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Institute for Networked Energy Systems is therefore looking at the sustainable and safe storage of 100 per cent pure hydrogen in salt caverns - a pioneering project.

Currently, salt caverns are used as safe long-term storage for energy sources such as natural gas or crude oil. In the context of the energy transition, this type of storage is now also being considered for hydrogen. In order to store hydrogen in the long term and then use it in the field of fuel cell mobility, the HyCAVmobil (Hydrogen Cavern for Mobility) project will research the conditions under which pure hydrogen can also be stored in salt caverns. The main focus is on how storage and retrieval affect the quality of the hydrogen.

Following initial laboratory-scale investigations, EWE and its Lower Saxony project partner have been building an underground cavern storage facility in Rüdersdorf, Brandenburg, since February 2021. In a first step, a drilling rig is erected and the salt dome is flushed out with water at a depth of 1,000 meters. This will create a cavity of 500 cubic meters, in which up to six tons of hydrogen will be stored in the future. By way of illustration, this quantity is enough to fill up around 1,000 hydrogen cars. If the project is successful, the findings of this project can easily be transferred to caverns with 1,000 times the volume, according to those responsible. That would be an important step toward large-scale hydrogen use.

The project is funded as part of the National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Innovation Programme and receives a funding grant of around 6 million euros from the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI).



©Ahrens Roof Technology
©DLR Institute for Networked Energy Systems

With approximately 9,100 employees, the EWE AG one of the largest utility companies in Germany, which focuses on the corresponding infrastructure in the hydrogen sector.

Logo: © EWE AG



The Oldenburg Institute for Networked Energy Systems develops technologies and concepts for the future energy supply based on renewable energies. This transformation process is being researched taking into account the aspects of "defossilisation", "decentralisation" and "digitalisation".

Logo: © DLR Institute for Networked Energy Systems



Schrand Energy Plant

Schrand Energy Plant


Prof. Dr. -Ing. Reckzügel (Professor at Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences, Professor of Innovative Energy Technology and Thermal Energy Technology), Patrick Wösten (Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences, research assistant in the project), Minister Meyer, Jörg Wilke (Managing Director "Northern Institute of Thinking") (second row), Timo Schrand (Managing Director of schrand.energy GmbH & Co. KG), Paul Hoffmann (Project Manager Hydrogen at schrand.energy GmbH & Co. KG.) (second row), Uwe Bartels (Former State Minister)

Self-sufficient energy system in the building

In Essen (Oldenburg), the company schrand.energy GmbH & Co. KG is planning a CO2-neutral and energy-autonomous, company-owned new building. The concept called Schrand Energy Plant is developed from the beginning as a modular, reproducible and scalable overall solution in order to be able to transfer it to other buildings.

The Schrand Energy Plant uses a photovoltaic system to supply renewable energy to the respective company site. The excess energy is then used in a PEM electrolysis unit to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, store these gases temporarily in pressurized gas tanks, and then convert them into electrical power and heat in a hydrogen fuel cell as needed. The Energy Plant is thus intended to provide a total system consisting of energy storage, electrolyzer, fuel cell and hydrogen tank that can be adapted to the respective consumer.

On March 7, Lower Saxony's Environment and Energy Minister Christian Meyer handed over the funding. Schrand.energy will receive funding of around 2.7 million euros for the implementation and the cooperation partner Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences 230,000 euros. 

Environment and Energy Minister Christian Meyer: "Renewable energies are essential if we want to protect the climate. Sometimes, however, we have large quantities without being able to store them. The project kills two birds with one stone by combining solar energy and hydrogen technology: surplus solar energy can thus be reused, and hydrogen can be produced with renewable energies. That's good for the climate and your wallet, and it strengthens the local economy with cheap, clean energy."


EU defines renewable hydrogen

EU defines renewable hydrogen

Credit DBT Inga HaarSource: NWN/Rainer Jensen

EU Commission defines renewable hydrogen

Hydrogen is a central component of the energy transformation. For this, it is important that renewable (green) hydrogen is used in the future. The EU Commission has recently published a delegated act that defines theconditions under which electricity may be used for hydrogen production and when the resulting hydrogen is recognizedas "renewable". The delegated act focuses on hydrogen of non-biogenic origin. This means that primarily hydrogen from electrolysis is meant and not from methane pyrolysis.

Renewable hydrogen 

Source: NWN/Daniel George

Larissa El Lahib, business lawyer and project manager on the part of the Lower Saxony Business Associations (UVN) in the NWN, explains the draft:

There are different possibilities when electricity for the production of hydrogen in an electrolyser can be considered renewable. which can be found in Article 3 and Article 4. For example, in the case of electricity from the grid, it is counted as renewable for hydrogen production if the following conditions are met at the electrolyzer:

  • is located in a power bid zone with a RE share of more than 90 percent,
  • or it is located in an electricity bidding zone with an emission intensity of electricity generation of less than 18 g CO2e per MJ / 65 g CO2e per kWh
  • or if the criteria of additionality and the conditions of temporal and spatial correlation are present.

At this means:

  • "Additionality": e.g., a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) has been entered into for electricity from a RE facility and the electricity is from a RE facility that was commissioned no earlier than 36 months prior to the electrolyzer. In addition, there must be no public subsidy.

There would be a transition period for projects placed in service before January 1, 2028.

  • "temporal correlation": e.g. the RES-E was produced in the same hour as the hydrogen. However, this is not to apply until 2030. Until the end of 2029, the RES-E may be produced in the same month as the hydrogen. In addition, Article 6 must be observed here.
  • "Geographical correlation": e.g., RES-E and hydrogen were basically generated in the same electricity bidding zone (Article 7).

Where do we go from here? The EU Parliament and Council now have two months to consider the two pieces of legislation. They can either be adopted or rejected, but not amended.


Assessments from the industry

Source: NWN/Daniel GeorgeDr. Alexander Bedrunka, Technical Officer at KEAN and Project Manager NWN On the meaning of the Delegated Act and the definition: 

We have waited two years for this decision and have thus been on the brakes for two years in terms of transformation. We therefore welcome the fact that the Delegated Act is finally available and thus ensures planning security for companies.

The industry was concerned in advance that the regulations would be too detailed - the EU is meeting this concern with a gradual introduction, in particular the temporal correlation. Nevertheless, there is criticism: From 2028, the regulations would unnecessarily restrict production for electrolysers and increase the costs of domestic hydrogen production.  

Environmental associations are pleased with the decision to link hydrogen production to the expansion of renewable electricity in order to counteract a slowdown in expansion. At the same time, however, they criticize the fact that hydrogen from nuclear power is recognized as renewable in France and Sweden. In principle, the EU rules should also be read here as meaning that the expansion of renewables must be accelerated. 

Even though the current focus is often on America and the Inflation Reduction Act, Europe is considered a pioneer worldwide with this bill. No other country has such a comprehensive set of regulations defining renewable hydrogen. 


Clean Hydrogen Coastline

Clean Hydrogen Coastline


About 400 megawatts of electrolysis capacity will be built in the Clean Hydrogen Coastline project in the Northwest region by 2026. Image source: ©EWE

Clean Hydrogen Coastline

The German North Sea coast is of particular importance in the development of a nationwide hydrogen economy. Due to the high supply of renewable energies, hydrogen can not only be produced in the region, but also stored, integrated into the energy system via existing electricity and gas infrastructure, or used directly on site. The "Important Project of Common European Interest" (IPCEI) "Clean Hydrogen Coastline" is intended to contribute to the development and expansion of the hydrogen economy in the Northwest region.

In the IPCEI "Clean Hydrogen Coastline", the industry partners ArcelorMittal, EWE, Faun, Gasunie, swb and Tennet want to build 400 megawatts of electrolysis capacity in the Northwest region by 2026. To this end, there are various projects to help with implementation.

For example, the hydrogen generated by offshore electricity will be used, among other things, for climate-neutral steel production at the Bremen steel site. If required, surplus hydrogen can be temporarily stored by connecting it to the cavern storage facility in Huntorf.

Clean Hydrogen Coastline's many links, for example with the Dutch partners, but also with projects in Hamburg and North Rhine-Westphalia, offer extensive potential for a European IPCEI. This will enable the partners to take a decisive step towards becoming an important building block of a future European hydrogen economy. The main goal of the project is to Integration of hydrogen into existing energy infrastructures.



ArcelorMittal is an international steel producer with a production volume of seven million tonnes of crude steel (2019), employing around 9,000 people across Germany.

Logo: © ArcelorMittal


With around 9,100 employees, EWE AG is one of the largest utilities in Germany that focuses on the corresponding infrastructure in the hydrogen sector.

Logo: © EWE AG

TenneT TSO GmbH is a transmission system operator with a grid length of 24,000 kilometres and approximately 5,700 employees.

Logo: © TenneT TSO GmbH

©Gasunie Germany

Gasunie Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG is the transmission system operator responsible for an approximately 4,300 kilometre long transmission system.

Logo: © Gasunie Germany

swb AG is a regional utility company for Bremen and Bremerhaven with around 2,255 employees.

Logo: © swb AG




H2Agriculture_Hidden Object

A future model for sustainable mobility in agriculture is to be created in Haren. ©agrowea


The "H2Agrar" project from Haren, which is funded under the Lower Saxony Hydrogen Directive, aims to significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions released by agricultural machinery. To this end, a prototype Fendt agricultural machine is to be equipped with a climate-friendly fuel cell drive. In the course of the project, valuable experience is to be gathered to ultimately enable series production.

News (28.02.2023): Fendt presents first hydrogen tractor - delivery of two prototypes for the H2Agrar project to Emsland planned for April.

In Bavaria, the tractor and harvester manufacturer FENDT has presented its first hydrogen tractor, which is to be used in Lower Saxony as part of the H2Agrar project. In the project, two prototypes of the hydrogen-powered tractor will be used on a regular basis on farms in Haren, Emsland. Delivery of the two hydrogen tractors from Bavaria to Lower Saxony is scheduled for April. 


H2Agrar with Minister Lies

The project receives funding under the Lower Saxony Hydrogen Directive ©agrowea

Agricultural machinery with fuel cell drive

Large quantities of greenhouse gases are still released when agricultural machinery is used. These emissions currently result from the almost exclusive use of fossil fuels and amounted to 6 million tonnes of CO₂ equivalents or 8.5 % of total emissions in agriculture in 2014 (Bundesministerium für Umwelt, 2016). If fossil fuels can be replaced with green hydrogen, these emissions can be reduced almost completely.

Therefore, a prototype of Fendt brand agricultural machinery with fuel cell drive is to be developed - in preparation for later series production. This will enable green hydrogen to be used in agriculture as a CO₂-neutral diesel alternative for agricultural machinery. The tractors are to obtain the fuel from the hydrogen filling station in Haren. For the transport of hydrogen within the model region, Röchling Engineering Plastics SE & Co. KG is developing special transport containers for the transport of hydrogen within the model region, which will also be marketed throughout Europe after the end of the project in three years. The project is funded under the Lower Saxony Hydrogen Guideline and receives a subsidy of around 2.8 million euros from the Lower Saxony Ministry for the Environment, Energy, Building and Climate Protection.



CEC Haren
TU Braunschweig
Emden/Leer University of Applied Sciences

CEC Haren GmbH & Co. KG is realising the construction of a green filling station park to supply road freight transport with alternative fuels.

Logo: © CEC Haren

Fendt has been a worldwide brand of the AGCO Corporation since 1997. Fendt manufactures agricultural technology such as tractors or harvesters and has around 6,000 employees.

Logo: © AGCO/Fendt

The Röchling Group is active worldwide in the field of plastics processing. The company has around 11,500 employees at 90 locations in 25 countries.

Logo: © Röchling Group

Around 20,000 students are enrolled in 71 degree programmes at Braunschweig University of Technology.

Logo: © Technical University of Braunschweig

Emden/Leer University of Applied Sciences is located in Emden. Around 4,500 students are enrolled at the university of applied sciences.

Logo: © Emden /Leer University of Applied Sciences