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Author: Kerstin Reisch

RED3 – Clear framework from Brussels

Initiate the European transformation for green hydrogen with quotas

On October 18, 2023, the EU decided on the Renewable Energy Directive 3 (RED III), a framework for expanding and using renewable energies in all sectors. In addition to the goals for the expansion of renewable energies and renewable heat, the document also contains, among other things, uniform definitions and calculation methods for different renewable energies and measures to accelerate approval procedures. While the core goal is the rapid market uptake of renewable energies in all sectors, there are also limited interventions in biomass.

RED III also sets essential cornerstones for the ramp-up of renewable hydrogen. This includes, among other things, the basis for EU-wide trade in hydrogen via a proof of origin system. In addition, energy storage is classified as being of “overriding public interest” and can therefore be approved more quickly. RED III also announces that the EU Commission will review the agreed definition of green hydrogen in 2028 to enable a rapid ramp-up of green hydrogen.

Binding targets for individual sectors, which are intended to provide orientation and planning security for all actors along the value chain, are crucial for the ramp-up:

  • The industry should cover its hydrogen needs by 42% green hydrogen and its derivative products by 2030 at the latest and 60% by 2035. As a result, green hydrogen will replace grey hydrogen based on fossil fuels and reduce carbon emissions.
  • At least 29% renewable energy should be used in the transport sector by 2030. A sub-quota of at least 1% applies to green hydrogen and its derivative products.
  • Ships should use at least 1.2% green hydrogen or derivative products in 2030.
  • The use of hydrogen in backup power plants is explicitly welcomed.

RED III creates demand for at least 30 TWh of green hydrogen in Germany in 2030. This will support the implementation of the German National Hydrogen Strategy that targets 95 to 130 TWh hydrogen in 2030 (including blue hydrogen).

It is now up to the German federal government to translate the binding framework of RED III into national laws that enable investment decisions for the required and necessary ramp-up of green hydrogen. One approach is a GHG reduction quota mechanism, which has been used in the transport sector. With a mandatory, ever-increasing quota, users are obliged to reduce CO2 emissions and switch to renewable energies gradually. The users themselves bear the costs without any burden for the taxpayers. Such a mechanism ensures the green hydrogen ramp-up. It also leads to FIDs (final investment decisions i.e., binding investment decisions) being made quickly for H2 projects along the entire value chain – from renewable energies to H2 use.

STOFF2 can benefit from the national implementation of RED III like no other actor. Our “Zinc-Zwischenschritt Electrolyzer” with integrated storage function allows us to use green electricity when available and cheap and simultaneously provide green hydrogen to the gas network or directly to the H2 customer as required.

Important milestone for STOFF2: zinc intermediate step electrolysis becomes part of the EU-funded REFORMERS project 

  • STOFF2 is leading technology provider and part of a consortium of 28 companies, public and scientific organisations from ten European countries 
  • From November 2023, a hydrogen hub is designed and built in the Dutch region of Alkmaar to supply 3,000 households and 300 businesses with 100 per cent renewable energy 
  • A STOFF2 electrolyzer with an integrated energy storage capacity of 2 MWh will produce green hydrogen from end of 2025 
  • The innovative Zinc Zwischenschritt Electrolyzer (ZZE), charges power at times of high PV and wind feed-in and ensures a demand-orientated and cost-efficient supply of green hydrogen 
  • For the first time, a STOFF2 electrolyzer is being integrated into a wider energy system and can bring its specific advantages to bear under real conditions 

Berlin, 24 November 2023: STOFF2 is part of the REFORMERS project, which aims to create a so-called Renewable Energy Valley in the Boekelermeer industrial estate of the city of Alkmaar. REFORMERS stands for “Regional Ecosystems FOR Multiple-Energy Resilient Systems” and is a sub-project of the EU-wide Horizon Europe funding program. STOFF2 is part of a consortium of 28 partners including companies as well as public and scientific institutions from a total of ten European countries. REFORMERS is coordinated by the Free University of Brussels, started in November 2023 and has a total duration of five years. The project is funded by the European Union with a total of around 22.5 million euros. 

A total of twelve partner organisations are building several interconnected and interacting demonstration plants under the coordination of the New Energy Coalition (NEC). The aim is to build and operate a 100 per cent climate-neutral supply system from renewable energies that will provide a constant and secure supply to 3,000 households and 300 local businesses. The energy carrier, green hydrogen, plays a key role in ensuring security of supply with green energy that is available and affordable at all times: STOFF2’s ZZE technology will be part of a local “Hydrogen Hub” that connects producers and consumers of green hydrogen via dedicated pipelines, storage facilities and a “docking station”, thus making fossil fuels superfluous. The STOFF2 zinc intermediate step electrolyzer will have a hydrogen output capacity of 2 Megawatt-hours and is expected to be operational by the end of 2025. 

The high relevance of this project is also emphasised by the fact that the Alkmaar region, like more and more regions in Germany, is affected by electricity grid bottlenecks, meaning that wind and solar power often have to be curtailed. Some operators of wind farms and PV systems even have to pay penalties for the surplus electricity they generate. It therefore makes all the more sense that, as part of the REFORMERS project, the green hydrogen produced is supplied to fuel cell vehicles via the local hydrogen refueling station that is already in operation and can also be fed into the H2 pipeline network. 

Sebastian Sipp, Managing Director of STOFF2: “We are delighted that our technology has not only convinced our project partners, but also the decision-makers at EU level. This is an important milestone for us, as this is the first time we can demonstrate the advantages of our product in a concrete application under real market conditions. Especially in an electricity grid with a growing share of solar and wind energy generation, the Zinc Zwischenschritt Electrolyzer can produce green hydrogen safely, cost-effectively and in line with demand. Our entire team is looking forward to this exciting international project and the funding decision marks an important milestone towards the launch of our GIGAfactory.” 

In this context, our energy storage electrolyzer can fully utilise its specific advantages: It contributes to the production of green hydrogen which is temporally decoupled from the power charging phase, which has a positive effect on the load balance in the electricity grid. In addition, the integrated storage function of the ZZE helps to make the green hydrogen available to consumers in the “Hydrogen Hub” in line with demand, thereby keeping system costs low. At the same time, 4-6 hours of electricity consumption per day during the periods of most intensive solar and wind power generation are sufficient to produce enough hydrogen, which can then be used for 12-24 hours per day as required. 

Further information can be found at 

Background information 

STOFF2 GmbH, based in Berlin, is developing a new type of electrolyzer with an integrated energy storage function, the Zinc Intermediate Electrolyzer (ZZE), a highly innovative technology for securing a 100% supply of renewable energies beyond the electricity sector and for producing renewable hydrogen in Europe: safe, cost-effective and green. 

ZZE has the combined functionality of a battery and an electrolyzer and serves as a cost-effective energy storage system to decarbonise hard-to-deplete sectors with green hydrogen. Our ZZE charges electricity for four hours during the day when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing (and electricity prices are low) and produces safe, cheap and green hydrogen over a cycle of 12 to 24 hours, providing customers with a continuous supply of green hydrogen and enabling a carbon-neutral energy supply without carbon emissions. 

STOFF2 was founded in 2020 and has grown steadily since then. STOFF2 currently has 20 employees. 

Press contact: 

BRight Advisors for STOFF2: 
Timo Bovi 
Phone: +49 177 8860622 

“Use instead of curtailment” is becoming a legal principle

Sector coupling, and the use of green hydrogen are receiving an important boost – the STOFF2 technology is perfect for this 

On November 10, 2023, the German Bundestag decided to introduce paragraph 13k in the Energiewirtschaftsgesetz (EnWG). “Use instead of curtailment” becomes the requirement when it comes to renewable electricity that cannot be used due to a lack of sufficient grid capacity or low demand for electricity. What does “use instead of curtailment” mean specifically, and what positive effects does this principle have? 

In recent years, the costs of renewable electricity volumes, which are inevitably curtailed by grid operators, have risen massively. In 2022, costs totaling more than 10 billion euros were incurred for renewable energy curtailment and the so-called redispatch, which had to be covered by the federal budget. Redispatch is the name given to switching on coal or gas power plants, particularly in southern and western Germany, when there is a large supply of wind and solar power available which cannot be transported there due to a lack of sufficient grid capacity. The wind farms and PV systems are then switched off, even though there is sufficient demand for electricity, and their operators receive corresponding compensation for their outage. At the same time, electricity from gas and coal-fired power plants must also be compensated. The German Bundestag has now decided on a regulation that will stop the further increase in the costs of unused green electricity and at the same time enable an additional contribution to the ramp-up of the hydrogen economy and climate protection: The new paragraph 13k of the EnWG stipulates that from October 2024 curtailed renewable electricity can be used by highly flexible electricity consumers with a connected load of at least 500 kW through a newly established auction mechanism. Highly flexible and therefore network-friendly systems can absorb this otherwise curtailed energy and use it to convert it for example into green hydrogen. 

STOFF2 welcomes the new regulation decided by the Bundestag. The new paragraph 13k of the EnWG now ushers in a turning point in dealing with renewable electricity quantities that would otherwise be curtailed: instead of leaving them unused in an economically inefficient manner, they will accelerate sector coupling in the future. The use of renewable electricity in the form of green molecules is becoming an equivalent option. The green hydrogen economy will receive an important additional boost. This means that the amounts of electricity that were previously “thrown away” can now be used – for example in the form of green hydrogen from the Zink Zwischenschritt Elektrolyzer (ZZE) from STOFF2. The ZZE technology is technically and economically ideally suited for the use of electricity that would otherwise have to be curtailed: four to six hours of absorption of “curtailed current” enable continuous hydrogen release for up to 20 hours. In this way, a ZZE can generate and provide green hydrogen particularly cost-effectively and in line with demand. The new paragraph 13k enables our customers to use this quality even more intensively.

Our perspective on advocacy

Our innovative electrolysis technology, the Zinc Zwischenschritt Elektrolyzer (ZZE), can become a decisive building block for the rapid implementation of the political targets for CO2 reduction in all sectors. Together with other technologies, we enable the integration of high shares of fluctuating renewable energies and rapid decarbonisation, especially of all application areas whose direct electrification is complicated, cost-intensive or cannot be implemented quickly enough. At the same time, the right political framework is required so that our customers and partners invest in our systems and thus in the transformation of the energy supply.

As a company, we want to work with our customers to make the greatest possible contribution to the use of renewable energies in all sectors. That is why we consciously engage in regular exchanges with political actors. We are convinced that by transparently communicating our positions we can help shape the political discourse and contribute valuable information to support democratic decision-making processes.

We would like to contribute independently and together with other actors from science, industry and civil society to the process of political decision-making. Our advocacy focuses on three areas of action:

  1. rapid expansion of renewable energies in the form of renewable electricity, renewable gases such as hydrogen and green heat. 
  2. comprehensive removal of barriers to the expansion of renewable energies, hydrogen and sustainable grid infrastructures.
  3. increased and accelerated use of green hydrogen in all sectors that are not yet on a 1.5°C compatible decarbonisation path.

Our position papers and statements can be found here on the website under the filter “Policy”. Furthermore, we document our lobbying in the official register of the German Bundestag

If you would like to talk to us, please feel free to speak to Dr. Christian Friebe directly.