Regional Minister Honé praises “real milestone” for the business location

State promotes triple project launch at Wasserstoffcampus Salzgitter

Press release / February 09, 2021

At the new Wasserstoffcampus Salzgitter, three projects on the use of hydrogen are being launched simultaneously. These involve the application of hydrogen technologies in manufacturing processes, the development of steel tanks for the transportation and storage of the energy carrier, and an innovation alliance for the establishment of a hydrogen cluster for Salzgitter. Lower Saxony is supporting the projects with a total of 4.7 million euros from the State's structural assistance program for Salzgitter.

Triple project launch at Wasserstoffcampus Salzgitter.
© Nds. Ministerium für Bundes- und Europaangelegenheiten und Regionale Entwicklung
Virtual presentation of the projects at the Wasserstoff-Campus Salzgitter. Top, from left to right: Dr. Ulrike Witt, State Commissioner for Regional Development for Braunschweig; Frank Klingebiel, Lord Mayor of Salzgitter. Center, from left to right: Birgit Honé, Minister for Federal and European Affairs and Regional Development for Lower Saxony; Dr.-Ing Benedikt Ritterbach, Managing Director of Salzgitter Mannesmann Forschung GmbH; Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christoph Herrmann, Director of the Fraunhofer IST. Below, from left to right: Michael Gensicke, Managing Director of Robert Bosch Elektronik GmbH Salzgitter, and Christoph Plett, state parliament member for the Peine CDU.

Representatives from politics, science and industry presented the new projects during a video conference: Lower Saxony's Minister for Federal and European Affairs, Birgit Honé, spoke of a “real milestone” for Salzgitter. “After a year of comprehensive conceptual and strategic planning, the gateway has been opened for the operational work,” said the Minister. But this is only the beginning: “The next projects are already being prepared,” announced Ms. Honé. These will focus on sector coupling, mobility and supplying the region with green hydrogen. Ms. Honé stated: “We want to make Lower Saxony fit for the future. We are therefore interested in holistic projects with the longest-possible local value chain. Salzgitter is demonstrating how this can succeed.”

The Lord Mayor of Salzgitter, Frank Klingebiel, described the Campus as a “lighthouse project for the industrial entry into a climate-friendly age” in which business, science, politics and administration are working hand-in-hand on the topic of hydrogen. “It is our common goal that new jobs are created and that Salzgitter as a business location is safeguarded and strengthened in the long term,” Mr. Klingebiel said.    

The Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST, Prof. Dr. Christoph Herrmann, sees a great benefit in the exchange of information: “At the Wasserstoffcampus Salzgitter, the partners are pooling their skills in order to demonstrate the industrial utilization of hydrogen and to develop marketable solutions for decarbonization. In particular, the Fraunhofer IST is contributing its expertise in the development of materials and processes for electrolyzers, hydrogen storage and fuel cells as well as in holistic evaluation,” said Prof. Herrmann.   

The alliance partners are interlinked through enormous motivation, said the Managing Director of Robert Bosch Elektronik GmbH Salzgitter, Michael Gensicke. “We are all united by our willingness to participate in the transformation to a CO2-neutral industrial location. It is clear to see that all the partners involved are contributing valuable expertise and are determined to forge ahead,” said Mr. Gensicke. He spoke of an “excellent alliance”: “In the region, we combine powerful industry with innovative research,” he said. Even though the Bosch Group has been CO2-neutral worldwide since 2020, it is still searching for ways to be even more effective: “We will therefore be developing a kind of blueprint for the transformation of a medium-sized factory towards CO2 neutrality at the Salzgitter plant as a sub-project of the Wasserstoffcampus. We are already starting work on this,” he said. 

Dr.-Ing Benedikt Ritterbach, Managing Director of Salzgitter Mannesmann Forschung GmbH, expressed his delight at the funding of the joint project with the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST: “The aim of our project is to develop a surface treatment for reducing hydrogen diffusion in steel tanks. Hydrogen plays a central role in the decarbonization of industry and in our innovation project ‘SALCOS Salzgitter Low CO2-Steelmaking’ for climate-friendly steel production. The safe production, storage, transmission and utilization of hydrogen are therefore crucial to the success of climate protection and the energy revolution. We have accumulated decades of expertise on the interaction of steel and hydrogen.”

Dr. Ulrike Witt, Braunschweig's State Commissioner for Regional Development, sees the Campus as an asset for the entire region: “A hydrogen region can only be created through the collaboration of all hydrogen projects and partners,” said Dr. Witt. She stressed that the point is to map value chains and enable synergies. “For this reason, I will gladly continue to work together with the Projektbüro Südostniedersachsen on the promotion of this important topic of regional development,” she concluded.