Image: ©Björn Lübbe
Hydrogen buses for the district of Friesland: HyFri
Due to the high supply of renewable energies, the district of Friesland has great potential for the development of a regional hydrogen economy. The starting signal for this project is now to be given in the transport sector - namely with the planned use of hydrogen buses in the region. For this purpose, Weser-Ems-Bus GmbH will be equipped with five hydrogen buses, which will make regional bus transport more climate-friendly in the future. The buses are to be on the road in the district of Friesland from the end of 2023.
According to plans, the buses can be refuelled at a new hydrogen filling station in Schortens. For this purpose, the project partners of Weser-Ems-Busverkehr GmbH, EWE AG and the Schloss Gödens group of companies are founding an operating company. EWE will take the lead in installing and commissioning the hydrogen filling station.
Using renewable energies from the region
Part of the green hydrogen that will be distributed via the filling station will be produced directly in the region. An energy park is being built for this purpose. The existing wind farm at the Sande site will be supplemented with photovoltaic modules. The energy park will be operated by Friesen Elektra of the Gödens Group. This will increase the regional availability of renewable energies, which in turn can be used for the production of green hydrogen.
Lower Saxony's Environment Minister Olaf Lies supports the project and emphasises the signal effect: "The first step is often the most difficult - the public transport project in the district of Friesland takes it and thus marks the start for the further expansion of the hydrogen economy in the region."
The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport as part of the HyWays for Future project - which in turn is part of the HyLand programme for regional funding. Subject to funding approval, the procurement of the buses will also be funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport, and their operation will be supported by the district of Friesland.
This is what those involved in the project say:
Sven Ambrosy - Landrat County District of Friesland
"Especially in our World Heritage region, we bear a great responsibility for climate protection. By establishing regional, green hydrogen production, we are making a very large contribution to reducing CO2at the same time strengthening the local economy and protecting our nature for the people who live here, for tourists and for future generations. I am pleased that we have found excellent partners from the business community to set off together into the hydrogen age."
Stefan Dohler, Chairman of the Board of Management of EWE AG
"Green hydrogen is an important element for EWE on the path to climate neutrality and greater independence. [...] EWE is therefore driving forward the market entry of green hydrogen together with partners. Friesland is an ideal region for this, as it is already supplied entirely by renewable energies. The electrolysis and storage of energy in the form of hydrogen opens up further potential, especially in the transport sector. [...] In the district of Friesland, we are now actively looking for further partners as users of the hydrogen filling station, so that we can start local, demand-based production in the medium term."
Maximilian Graf von Wedel-Gödens, Managing Director of Friesen Elektra
"Innovation and modernity in rural areas is something we have been working on for over 20 years. The signs of the times are clear and hydrogen has huge economic potential for Sande and Friesland. We will contribute to raising this potential."
Jan Cyrullies, Managing Director Weser-Ems-Bus
"Thanks to the approval of the district, we will be operating five hydrogen buses in Friesland at the end of 2023, which will be 100 per cent emission-free. Weser-Ems-Bus is part of DB Regio Bus' Region North. In Schleswig-Holstein, our region has already had good experience with the use of hydrogen buses. We are pleased that we can now also put our know-how in this area on the road in the district of Friesland."
The Weser-Ems Bus Transport GmbH with headquarters in Hamburg is a subsidiary of DB Regio AG and operates bus services in Lower Saxony. In the transport area of the Ems-Jade transport association, the company employs 135 people and operates 45 of its own buses.
© Weser-Ems Busverkehr GmbH
The EWE AG headquartered in Oldenburg, Lower Saxony, is active in the business areas of energy, telecommunications and information technology and has over 9,100 employees. In the hydrogen sector, EWE AG focuses on the development of infrastructure.
© EWE AG
The Schloss Gödens group of companies is active in many different areas - Friesen Elektra is part of the Gödens group and has been extracting renewable energy from a wind farm in Sande since 1999.
© Gödens Castle
The District of Friesland consists of eight towns and municipalities and has a total population of around 98,000. The "HyFri" project is intended to be the starting signal for the development of a regional hydrogen economy in the district of Friesland.
© County Friesland