Climate Solutions

Hydrogen – key to the energy transition

CO₂ free energy source of the future

Policymakers in Germany and the EU have set themselves the goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2045 and reducing CO₂ emissions to zero. This can only be achieved if the burning of the fossil fuels oil and natural gas is largely abandoned. But the energy transition in the building sector cannot be limited to electric heating systems alone, because this would require enormous investments to multiply power generation. In order not to financially overburden neither consumers nor the economy, it is already becoming apparent that by 2050 there will be a sensible mix of electrically powered heat generators as well as gas condensing boilers and fuel cells that use hydrogen. Experts attach particular importance to hydrogen as a CO₂ neutral energy source.

The hydrogen cycle

Using renewable electricity, the electrolyzer produces hydrogen (H₂) and oxygen (O₂) from water (H₂O). H₂ ready heaters burn the hydrogen highly efficiently, producing water again in addition to heat for heating – the cycle is closed. By using renewable energies, hydrogen production is CO₂ free.

Kreislauf des Wasserstoffs bei HW-ready-Heizgeräten
Infrastructures for the production, distribution and use of hydrogen as an energy carrier.

Strategies for the expansion of infrastructures

Hydrogen can achieve a significant reduction of CO₂ emissions in the very short term. If 20 percent hydrogen were added to our natural gas – which is already possible in principle today – greenhouse gas emissions could already be reduced by around 7 percent per year. A significant and at the same time rapidly effective contribution to climate protection. Policymakers are therefore pushing ahead with the development of infrastructures for the production, distribution and use of the new energy source hydrogen. At the beginning of July 2020, for example, the EU Commission presented a hydrogen strategy that envisages a major expansion of generation capacities. The German government also published its National Hydrogen Strategy this summer. In it, funding totaling 9 billion euros is envisaged for the targeted further development of a hydrogen infrastructure.

Green hydrogen – what's behind it?

Hydrogen does not exist on earth in its pure form. Therefore, it must be produced. Politicians and experts are focusing on the electrolysis of water to generate the new energy carrier. The electricity needed for this comes from wind power and photovoltaic plants, which already produce more electricity than can be consumed on windy and sunny days. This excess electricity is to be used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen produced in this way, which is completely CO₂-free, is referred to as "green hydrogen".

The brochure "Technology of the future: Heating with hydrogen" for download

Brochure for download: Heating with hydrogen

We have compiled all the information on heating with hydrogen in our brochure "Technology of the future: Heating with hydrogen".

Heating with hydrogen (675 KB pdf)
Efficient H2-ready energy system from Viessmann, here a Vitodens 200 or 300 gas condensing boiler.

Comprehensive H₂-ready product portfolio from innovation leader Viessmann

The latest special report by the Bundesrechnungshof (BRH) makes it clear: The energy transition faces enormous challenges in terms of both affordability and security of supply. Viessmann is responding to these challenges of the future with a broad portfolio of efficient H₂-ready energy systems and solutions. The modern gas condensing boilers in the Vitodens family can easily be operated with 20 to 30 percent hydrogen in the natural gas. Homeowners who rely on modern Viessmann technology for their gas heating system are therefore ideally equipped for the future.

Committed to the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance

Viessmann and leading energy experts are campaigning for the widespread consideration of hydrogen to achieve a secure supply as well as affordable energy and heat transition. To this end, Viessmann, together with representatives from business, science and civil society, is not only involved in the National Hydrogen Council, but also at the European level. Viessmann is part of the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance (ECH₂A), whose goal is to utilize and further develop the potential of hydrogen as a CO₂-neutral energy source. Co-CEO Max Viessmann takes part in the thematic roundtable discussions of the European alliance of business, research, industry and the public.

Viessmann is represented as "Excellence Partner" at the Green Tech Festival 2021 in Berlin

Viessmann as "Excellence Partner" at GREENTECH FESTIVAL

For three days, everything at the GREENTECH FESTIVAL revolves around green technologies, innovations in sustainability and ways out of the climate crisis. Viessmann will be there as an "Excellence Partner" – with an information booth on hydrogen technologies, among other things, and represented by CSO/CMO Thomas Heim, who will be speaking on alternative energies as a panelist on the main stage. The GREENTECH FESTIVAL will take place from June 16-18 in Berlin and online.

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100 percent hydrogen operation planned from 2025

Tests in laboratories have shown that it is already possible to add up to 30 percent hydrogen to natural gas. However, Viessmann is already thinking ahead to pave the way to a greenhouse gas neutral future: gas heating appliances and fuel cells for 100 percent hydrogen operation are already in the development and test phase. They can be easily converted from natural gas operation – with high efficiency and completely no CO₂ / CO emissions in H₂ operation.

In addition, our modular Vitomax industrial boiler range is already designed to be future-proof for the operation with 100 percent hydrogen. It is suitable for use in the manufacturing industry, for example in the fertilizer, building materials, beverage, food, paper or chemical/pharmaceutical industries, but also in refineries or hospitals.

Switching to sustainability

Numerous pilot projects for the use of pure hydrogen are already being supported, such as the construction of a hydrogen infrastructure in Kaisersesch, Rhineland-Palatinate. As part of the "SmartQuart" project funded by the BMWi, a complete hydrogen infrastructure will be created there by 2023 – from the generation of renewable electricity to operate the electrolysers, the storage of hydrogen and its distribution, to its use in the heat and power supply, industry and transport sectors. Viessmann has been involved in this first real laboratory of the energy transition from the very beginning and, in addition to condensing boilers for operation with pure hydrogen, will also test hydrogen compatible fuel cell heating systems in practical operation in Kaisersesch.

Industrial solution Steam boiler from NCI in Jordan for water treatment.

Industrial boiler project in Jordan with 100 percent hydrogen operation

Hydrogen fueled steam boiler – plant of National Chlorine Industries (NCI) in Jordan, manufacturer for chlorine in the chemical industry and for water treatment projects.

In Kaisersesch, Rhineland-Palatinate, a complete infrastructure for the supply of pure hydrogen is being built by 2023.

SmartQuart Kaisersesch relies on 100 percent hydrogen

1. Production: Wind power plant, photovoltaic plants, electrolyser.
2. Storage: Hydrogen based microgrids.
3. Consumption: LOHC hydrogen storage facility for excess energy, H₂ consumers incl. industrial sites, heating demand, hydrogen mobility, H₂ CHP unit.
4. Control: Intelligent district control.
5. Source: "Reallabor SmartQuart".

The Viessmann Technikum in Allendorf is testing the use of natural gas/hydrogen mixture prototypes.

"H₂-ready" condensing boiler uses 100% hydrogen

To pave the way to a greenhouse gas neutral future, Viessmann is currently developing the "H₂ ready" condensing boiler, an innovative solution that can use pure hydrogen. The appliance is based on tried-and-tested gas condensing technology and will also be able to run on natural gas or a natural gas/hydrogen mixture. System operators are thus independent in their choice of supplier and mixture. The first prototypes are currently being tested in detail at the research and development center at the company's headquarters in Allendorf (Eder). These devices are expected to be launched on the market from 2024 on, when the first gas networks for hydrogen will be available in Germany.

Equipped for the future

With the innovative "H₂-ready" condensing boilers, conversion from operating with natural gas or natural gas/hydrogen mixtures to operating them with pure hydrogen will be easily possible in just a few simple steps. This ensures their future viability in the transition phase from natural gas to hydrogen. Other condensing systems, also for higher outputs, as well as fuel cells and combined heat and power plants for hydrogen are currently under development at Viessmann. As an innovation leader in the industry, the company will offer a complete portfolio for almost every application in the future.

The picture shows the newly designed reception of the Mercure Hotel MOA in Berlin

Mercure Hotel Berlin heats with self-generated hydrogen

From the summer of 2021, the Mercure Hotel MOA Berlin will generate its own hydrogen from biomethane and use up to 20 % for climate-friendly building heating with Viessmann condensing boilers.