Frankfurt – The new German government’s climate change policy is raising hopes for new business opportunities among Japanese firms working to develop hydrogen-related technologies in the country.
Established last month, the ruling coalition led by the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) has hammered out the policy of making new natural gas-fired power plants convertible to hydrogen-fired plants, which don’t emit carbon dioxide.
In the same month, major German power supplier RWE AG and Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. announced an experimental hydrogen power generation project using Kawasaki Heavy’s gas turbine capable of producing some 30 megawatts.
As the turbine can operate purely with hydrogen, natural gas and with any combination of both, it will provide power generation data on hydrogen, natural gas and the mixed fuel for comparison in the project, to be launched in the northwestern state of Lower Saxony as early as 2024, the companies said.
Electricity to produce hydrogen for the project would be generated by wind mills so there will be no carbon dioxide emissions, they added.
“We expect that hydrogen will draw increased attention also in the United States and the Middle East, helping our business expand,” a Kawasaki Heavy official said.
Meanwhile, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. has also been searching for hydrogen business opportunities in the European country.
The firm is taking part in a joint research project in the northern city of Hamburg with a local public utility and European companies to produce hydrogen using wind and solar power, aiming to start production around 2025 to supply the eco-friendly fuel to various industries.
The coalition government plans to have renewables reach 80% of the country’s electricity demand by 2030, a target more ambitious than the 65% proposed by the preceding Angela Merkel administration.
It also plans to abolish coal-fired power plants by 2030, eight years earlier than previously planned.
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