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International NRW HY Summit 2022 shows the potential of North Rhine-Westphalia as a hydrogen location

© NRW.Global Business/Jan Tepass

One of the biggest roles in a successful energy transition is played by the smallest chemical element: hydrogen. The NRW HY Summit on November 9 in Essen provides insights into how the state of North Rhine-Westphalia is advancing its transformation into a modern, climate-neutral location and aims to build the largest hydrogen ecosystem in Europe by 2030 in the areas of innovation, production and infrastructure. Over 400 participants and more than 50 speakers from Germany and abroad will be present. The conference is organized by NRW.Global Business and NRW.Energy4Climate, together with Business Metropole Ruhr, Duisburg Business & Innovation and EWG Essener Wirtschaftsförderungsgesellschaft.  

For the state government, hydrogen is one of the most important building blocks for achieving its climate protection goals. In his address, NRW Minister President Hendrik Wüst emphasized: "Knowledge and hydrogen are the keys to a good future in North Rhine-Westphalia. North Rhine-Westphalia has the potential to become a hub for a national hydrogen supply. We want to use this potential to reconcile climate protection and industry and preserve good jobs. Industry, the skilled trades and small and medium-sized businesses will be strong partners in the tasks ahead. Together, we will make North Rhine-Westphalia the number one hydrogen location and thus become a pioneer for the success of this green transformation. Hydrogen is the key technology on the road to climate neutrality."

In her video message, Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Protection Mona Neubaur adds: "The HY Summit clearly shows why North Rhine-Westphalia is the European hotspot for hydrogen. Here, leading companies meet excellent research institutions and an industrial density that makes North Rhine-Westphalia a leading location for hydrogen technologies. The new state government will reinforce this momentum with new stimuli and make North Rhine-Westphalia Europe's first climate-neutral industrial region by building a hydrogen economy."

At the NRW HY Summit, individual focal points of this hydrogen ecosystem will be highlighted in panel discussions: Opportunities for international investors and cooperations are on the agenda, as are insights into production and infrastructure projects and application examples from industry and the mobility sector. Experts from companies including AIR LIQUIDE, Duisport, Enapter, INEOS, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Plug Power, RWE and thyssenkrupp Steel Europe will talk about value chains and future prospects in the hydrogen economy.

Thomas Kufen, Mayor of the City of Essen, also emphasizes the importance of holistic activities at the municipal level: "The energy sector is a significant economic factor for the City of Essen, with over 250 companies and institutions from the energy sector located here, including RWE and E.ON, two of the four largest German energy companies. These companies play a key role in the energy transition, as at least one Essen-based company is involved in almost all major European hydrogen projects. As a city, we are continuing to drive this development forward, for example with a hydrogen advisory board that I set up myself."

Parallel to the main conference, the H2UB initiative is holding a workshop for the startup target group where international startups can find out about the status of H2 startup activities in North Rhine-Westphalia. Startups from the region as well as funding and support offers from various cities and regions in North Rhine-Westphalia will be presented there.

The NRW HY Summit on 10 November offers very practical insights into the hydrogen landscape of NRW with a series of site visits in the Ruhr Metropolis and the Rhineland. At the H2Herten User Center, the Max Planck Institute for Coal Research, thyssenkrupp Electrical Steel and INOVYN, participants will be able to see for themselves the state's hydrogen potential in research and industry.

The pre-opening of the NRW HY Summit took place on 8 November at thyssenkrupp Steel Europe in Duisburg with a plant tour and evening reception with Mona Neubaur, Deputy Minister President and Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, Sören Link, Mayor of the City of Duisburg, and Bernhard Osburg, Chief Executive Officer of thyssenkrupp Steel Europe. "We are well on the way to becoming a role model for green innovation in Europe. In Duisburg and the entire Ruhr region the conditions are excellent for setting the course for the future with the help of hydrogen. The prospect of building a direct reduction plant for the production of green steel at Europe's No. 1 steelmaking location at thyssenkrupp Steel Europe will significantly advance decarbonization in steel production," says Mayor Sören Link.

All details about the program can be found here.


Other voices

Felix Neugart, CEO of NRW.Global Business: "North Rhine-Westphalia is home to the entire hydrogen value chain: plants that generate green hydrogen from green electricity, pipelines that transport the gas across the state, fuel cell trucks and CO2-free inland shipping as far as the Netherlands. This makes North Rhine-Westphalia one of the world's most important innovation drivers for this future technology, attracting investors from all over the globe."

Ulf C. Reichardt, CEO of NRW.Energy4Climate: "Hydrogen is one of the keys to a climate-neutral North Rhine-Westphalia. In order for the market ramp-up to succeed, not only committed companies and the support of politics are needed. Cooperation and international collaboration are just as important. NRW already offers good conditions here. The state agency NRW.Energy4Climate provides the fullest support for a successful energy turnaround."

Prof. Dr. Julia Frohne, CEO of Business Metropole Ruhr: "As an energy region, we are a living laboratory for innovative, climate-friendly approaches and we combine environmental issues with business. The Metropole Ruhr is already able to use hydrogen in energy-intensive production processes and is continuously working on the progress of suitable technologies. BMR, together with the RVR, brings together a multitude of actors and interests throughout the region in the Hydrogen Metropole Ruhr – HyMR for short. Together we are working on the development of the hydrogen model region. In this way, we want to provide impetus for the German energy turnaround and set an example worldwide for the climate-friendly renewal of industry."

Dr. Rasmus C. Beck, CEO of Duisburg Business & Innovation: "When it comes to hydrogen, we are in our element – which is why the first NRW Congress will naturally be held in Duisburg. The unique density of industry, logistics, science and infrastructure creates favorable starting conditions for a nationwide H2 hotspot. The key players have gathered here today at thyssenkrupp Steel. The plant tour and the high-caliber evening program have shown that the Rhine and Ruhr are the center of gravity for the hydrogen economy in Germany."

Andre Boschem, CEO of EWG – Essener Wirtschaftsförderungsgesellschaft: "With the headquarters of large corporations and the overall high density of companies in the energy industry, Essen plays a central role in the field of hydrogen. The best prerequisites, therefore, to help shape the future of hydrogen as an industry meeting place and debate venue right here. With the HY Summit, the city and at the same time the state of NRW are further expanding this position as an H2 think tank of the European energy industry."