Success factor for a green hydrogen economy
The Port of Hamburg is the most high-performing port in Germany and one of the three largest in Europe. It is, however, not only an efficient logistics hub but also a leading industrial area. These locational advantages provide optimum conditions for opening a new chapter in Hamburg's history: the establishment of a self-sustaining green hydrogen economy.
Port of Hamburg
- Top 3 in Europe, Top 20 worldwide (container ports)
- 8,000 ship calls per year - almost 300 berths for ocean-going vessels more than 2,300 freight trains per week - largest rail port in Europe16,000 trucks per day
- Four modern container terminals and around 50 specialised transhipment facilities114,000 employees
- Area of 7,200 hectares (around 10 per cent of Hamburg's urban area), 926 of which are used for industrial purposes
- Planned expansion and conversion into Europe's hub for green hydrogen with hydrogen import terminals, mega-electrolyser and 380 kV connector
The preconditions for this are ideal. The port with its reliable infrastructure creates the best environment for importing, storing and distributing hydrogen in large volumes, regardless of whether it is liquid, gaseous or chemically bound. A high degree of digitalisation ensures efficient processes. Here, transnational waterways, roads and railways in the European interconnected grid meet with powerful electricity lines and gas pipelines. Hardly any other location in Europe offers such benefits.
The gas network already provides most of Hamburg's energy. By 2025, 50 kilometres of gas network (2030: 60 km) will be ready for hydrogen and its connection to a larger European hydrogen network. By creating a complete chain from the production and import of green hydrogen to its large-volume, regionally unlimited supply for the first time, Hamburg takes a pioneering role. By doing so, it paves the way for other cities and regions and a growing green hydrogen economy. To this end, talks are already underway both with various grid operators to feed hydrogen into the national and European gas grids and with industry representatives to purchase hydrogen from Hamburg.
The Hamburg gas grid
- Length: 45 kilometres - expansion to 60 km planned by 2030
- Capacity: 3,300 megawatts of hydrogen - around 100 metric tons per hour, comparable to 100 road tankers for hydrogen
- 2 billion cubic meters (annually)
- Connection to import terminals, port electrolyser and all port logistics
With an area of 7,200 hectares, the port is an industrial area of European importance. Major purchasers of green hydrogen, for example from the basic materials industry (copper, steel, or aluminium), as well as refineries are based here. The result is a powerful ecosystem of short distances: the economies of scale secured by great demand from the outset ensure its economic success.
Ongoing talks with Hamburg's industry indicate that it will have a need for around 120,000 metric tons of green hydrogen in 2030 alone. Other sectors, such as low-emission shipping, are also making rapid progress. For example, environmentally friendly plug-in hybrid ships powered by hydrogen will be added to the port's ferries in the next few years. Further hydrogen buses are also in the planning stage.
With this, the Port of Hamburg is not only ideally positioned for future challenges but also bridges the gap between the successful present and a sustainable, value-creating future: