In conversation with Tobias Moldenhauer from EWE

In conversation with Tobias Moldenhauer from EWE

Credit DBT Inga HaarSource: private

Tobias Moldenhauer, Head of Hydrogen in the Hydrogen and Large-scale Storage business area at EWE AG in Oldenburg.

"What it needs now is a hydrogen acceleration bill".

TES-H2 and EWE are planning to build a 500 MW electrolyzer at the Wilhelmshaven Green Energy Hub. With this, the two companies are taking another important step for the energy transition.

The electrolyzer is scheduled to come on stream from 2028. The capacity will initially be 500 megawatts, and will later be expanded to a total capacity of 1 gigawatt with another planned plant. The signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two companies is in line with Germany's energy strategy to extract clean energy from the North Sea and expand supplies for hydrogen production. More info on the project can be found here.

Lis Blume from the NWN took this cooperation as an opportunity to talk to Tobias Moldenhauer, Head of Hydrogen in the Hydrogen and Large Storage Business Unit of EWE AG.


Tobias, together with TES-H2, EWE is building a 500 MW electrolyzer in Wilhelmshaven. In a second step, the capacity is then to be expanded to 1 GW. Can you briefly describe the significance of this project for the energy transition in Lower Saxony and Germany? 

We are firmly convinced that the energy transition and the associated shift away from fossil fuels will succeed with green hydrogen. In this way, we are creating a way to make renewable energies storable. Green hydrogen will thus become an important component of the energy future in the region where the best conditions exist for the center of a green, European hydrogen economy: northwest Germany. Here in the region, the share of renewable energies is high and there are numerous infrastructure components, such as gas storage facilities and one of the largest gas distribution networks in Germany. All the measures and projects build on each other and have a common goal: to drive the market ramp-up of the hydrogen economy. We want to tackle and drive this forward together with partners like TES. To this end, we recently sealed a joint declaration of intent.

This is not your first project in the hydrogen economy. What "learnings" from the other projects can you apply here?

We are still at the beginning of numerous hydrogen projects along the entire value chain, from generation, transport and storage to application in industry and heavy-duty transport. We are cooperating with other companies and jointly developing ideas and projects to drive the ramp-up of the hydrogen economy. We already have a hydrogen production demonstrator in operation and a hydrogen filling station, and others are currently being implemented. Of course, we are also taking the findings from this into the development of large-scale projects. We are also already creating facts in hydrogen storage. We are currently building a test cavern in Rüdersdorf, Brandenburg, and together with DLR are testing the storage and retrieval of hydrogen in an underground cavity and the quality of the hydrogen after it has been removed from the cavern. We already reached an important milestone a few weeks ago: The 1,000-meter supply line to the cavern has been proven to be leak-proof.

For other hydrogen projects, such as Clean Hydrogen Coastline or Hyways for Future, EWE has submitted funding applications to the state and federal governments. Not this time. Why?

In order to be able to submit a funding application, concrete preliminary project planning is first necessary. With the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between EWE and TES-H2, i.e. a joint declaration of intent, we are only now entering into this preliminary planning. As things stand, we will therefore also be dependent on subsidies for this electrolysis project.

The new government of Lower Saxony is talking about Germany's speed and energy transition turbo for such projects. Has the turbo already arrived in practice?

We very much hope that approval processes will become leaner for energy transition projects. With the new LNG Acceleration Act, Germany has shown that this is possible. What is needed now is an appropriate legal framework for the swift implementation of all energy transition projects, for example through a hydrogen acceleration law.

You want to get the green electricity for electrolysis from the wind farms in the North Sea. Will offshore wind be developed to the point where sufficient energy is available for electrolysis by 2028?

The expansion of renewables - whether onshore or offshore wind energy - naturally goes hand in hand with the expansion of the hydrogen economy. We therefore assume that by the time our planned electrolyzer in Wilhelmshaven goes into operation in 2028, the expansion of wind energy will have progressed accordingly, so that we do not fear any bottleneck in the procurement of green electricity for hydrogen production. We are of course in close consultation with the grid operators on this.

Thank you very much.



In conversation with Stefan Kaufmann

In conversation with Stefan Kaufmann

In conversation with Dr. Stefan Kaufmann

Credit DBT Inga HaarSource: NWN

Lis Blume (NWN) and Dr. Stefan Kaufmann in conversation. ©NWN

Energy infrastructure of tomorrow

For the successful development of a hydrogen economy, an international hydrogen infrastructure is needed. Lis Blume from the NWN talks with Dr. Stefan Kaufmann, the former federal representative for hydrogen, about Lower Saxony's role in the transformation of the energy sector, regulation and certificates for green hydrogen, EU policy and international partnerships.

Watch directly here or on our Youtube channel.




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Interview: No energy transition without skilled workers

Interview: No energy transition without skilled workers

In conversation with Dr. Ruggero Capperucci

Source: NWN

Lis Blume (NWN) and Dr. Ruggero Capperucci (University of Oldenburg) during an interview in Oldenburg. ©NWN

We cannot achieve an energy turnaround without skilled workers

The successful development of a hydrogen economy requires comprehensive education and training in many sectors. This is because the conversion to hydrogen technologies is accompanied by numerous changes in production processes, in energy or even in vehicle use. The NWN therefore now summarizes current qualification offers and provides an overview of the most important offers in Lower Saxony.

Lis Blume, responsible for communications at the NWN, therefore talked to Dr. Ruggero Capperucci, contact person for the advanced training course "Hydrogen for Experts and Managers" at the Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, Leibniz University Hannover and Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems IWES.

"By 2030, we will need 70,000 hydrogen specialists in Germany."



Mr. Capperucci, are our skilled workers well prepared for the energy transition?

RC: Dear Ms. Blume, I'm afraid I have to give you a clear answer: No. There is currently a serious shortage of hydrogen specialists in Germany. An estimate by the German Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (DWV) suggests that 70,000 new hydrogen cycle specialists will need to be trained by 2030 - and that's before recent international events have given a decisive boost to energy independence and the green turnaround at national and EU level.


Hydrogen as an important building block in the energy supply has been a topic every now and then in the past decades, starting in the eighties. The topic itself is not new - but why is there still a lack of expertise in dealing with the gas?

RC: Green hydrogen will develop its market potential in various sectors over the next ten years. The technology for using hydrogen for energy purposes has been well known for decades. Nevertheless, its large-scale application requires a rethink and adaptation of the entire economic and industrial system at various levels. The energy turnaround with hydrogen as the central "bridge" for coupling different sectors entails a multitude of technological, but also legal, economic, operational challenges. Last but not least, politics and administration are also called upon to initiate and accompany the conversion.





"Building a hydrogen economy will require skilled professionals and leaders in all areas along the value chains, as well as in politics and government."



We always talk about the skilled workers and those responsible in the companies. You're now also bringing administration into play - what role does it play in building the hydrogen economy?

RC: There is currently a strong political will for the transformation of the industry and numerous investments in model projects. For the development of a hydrogen economy, competent specialists and managers are needed in all areas along the value chains, as well as in politics and administration. In addition, hydrogen economy projects are complex, interdisciplinary and innovative. A dedicated training program can shorten the learning curve and reduce the cost of mistakes.

Can you be more specific about that?

RC: Let me give you a few examples: For the use of hydrogen vehicles in the vehicle fleet, dedicated logistics must also be provided the decision for a system sets a company for years and entails numerous follow-up decisions. Employees of banks or insurance companies must be able to assess the technical dimensions of a hydrogen project in order to evaluate its feasibility and financial viability. Public administration staff must review applications for new hydrogen-related plants and facilities, and economic development agencies must recognize the opportunities, as well as challenges, that the hydrogen economy presents for their region. All of these individuals need ongoing, comprehensive, and up-to-date training and education.

Source: MU

Olaf Lies, Minister for the Environment, Energy, Building and Climate Protection in Lower Saxony (center), is committed to the rapid development of the hydrogen economy. To this end, he has, among other things, launched a funding guideline to support companies like aha in Hanover in their conversion to sustainable energies. ©NWN

What qualifications do skilled workers need to work with renewable energies, but especially with hydrogen?

RC: This depends on the industry in which they work: But in general, in addition to the qualification they already have, any professional who wants to deal with renewable energy and especially hydrogen needs the necessary expertise. Furthermore, they should be able to look at renewable energy projects and also hydrogen economy projects from different perspectives, understand them if possible and communicate with different actors/trades in these fields. 


Which professionals, for example, take part in the continuing education program at the University of Oldenburg?

RC: Our participants include professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds: Engineers who want to gain specific expertise on hydrogen technologies, bankers who want to address specific economic questions about hydrogen timelines and price drivers, and so on. Importantly, however, these professionals are asked to work together to develop a virtual hydrogen project that encompasses all of these aspects, so that each can not only contribute his or her own discipline, but also learn to see through the eyes of the other and get a complete picture of the entire project process.


Continuing education is offered in a combination of classroom and online sessions, as well as field trips. ©AdobeStock

"Leaders need to understand the "ecosystem" of the hydrogen economy."


Now we've talked about skilled workers. In which areas do managers need to undergo further training in order to stay on the ball?

RC: Executives must decide if and how the hydrogen economy is relevant to their company or division and, if so, establish a business segment. The decentralized nature of renewables creates opportunities for many companies whose executives need to understand the hydrogen economy "ecosystem." This requires a basic technical understanding as well as knowledge of the components, dimensions, players and political dimensions of hydrogen projects, as well as the hydrogen economy. They also need to be able to assess possible business models and know which competencies and people they need for a hydrogen project.

Your assessment: Will we see completely new training occupations, or will the topic of hydrogen have to be integrated into existing training programs?

RC: In the short term, the urgent need for specialists must be met with our own new courses and programs, such as ours. We aim to provide the necessary technical and overview knowledge as well as the different perspectives and an independent orientation ability in the hydrogen economy in six months with a high-quality academic further education, which has a strong practical orientation. In the medium term, I believe that the subject of hydrogen will become more and more part of the normal educational canon. But also in this phase I see good perspectives for our program of further education for specialists and executives of the hydrogen economy.

Source: NWN

Hydrogen for professionals and managers

The continuing education program of the Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, Leibniz University Hannover and the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems IWES builds on existing professional qualifications and experience of the participants and enables them to assess, initiate and manage hydrogen projects. During the training, a hydrogen project is realistically planned and calculated.

Qualification offers in the hydrogen sector

The successful development of a hydrogen economy requires comprehensive education and training in many sectors. The NWN summarizes the current offers here and provides an overview of the relevant qualifications in Lower Saxony.





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