Germany's Apex Energy launches hydrogen plant near Rostock

ROSTOCK, Germany, June 12 (Reuters) - German engineering company Apex Energy launched a hydrogen plant in Rostock-Laage near the Baltic Sea on Friday to supply carbon-neutral energy for heating, a car supplier plant moving to the site this year, and to fuel public transport.

Envisioned in 2018 and based on a 2 megawatt (MW) electrolyser, the plant is a small endeavour, costing a low double-digit million euro amount, but it is the kind of project Germany wants to help decarbonise its economy.

Under its hydrogen strategy passed on Wednesday, Germany wants to ramp up the extraction of the fuel from water using electrolysis powered by renewable wind and solar power, as is the case at the Rostock plant.

“We will absorb green energy here, store it in hydrogen for later use and provide it to the industrial park at Rostock-Laage,” Apex chief technology officer Peter Sponholz told Reuters Television.

“At last we have become basically ready for everyday use.”

The plant comprises of a fuel cell, a storage tank, a combined heat and power plant and a stabilising battery.

Germany has committed 9 billion euros ($10 billion) of funding to the sector, betting that green hydrogen will help decarbonise key industries and support technology exports when the economy recovers after the coronavirus pandemic.

Germany wants to have 5,000 MW of electrolyser capacity by 2030 and 10,000 MW a decade later, scaling up the alternative energy source to replace fossil fuel and nuclear power, as well as oil and gas in heavy goods, transport and aviation.

The government has also said it aims to remove regulatory hurdles and help cut costs to make hydrogen products marketable.

“We are pleased that policymakers have recognised that hydrogen is an energy source in which Germany can certainly become a trailblazer,” Sponholz said. ($1 = 0.8877 euros) (Reporting by Oliver Barth; Writing by Vera Eckert; Editing by David Clarke)