The former mining and industrial heartland is still Germany’s largest urban agglomeration, with 5.1 million inhabitants spread across a polycentric structure of 53 municipalities. Since the 1960s, the region has gone through an impressive process of structural transformation, developing important expertise in green technologies, particularly specialising in resource efficiency.

At the same time, its remaining manufacturing sector is still dominated by energy and emission-intensive industries, such as steel and chemicals. 

By contrast, the share of renewable energies is still lagging, and the region’s transportation system heavily relies on road traffic. In an attempt to become “Europe’s greenest industrial region”, several municipalities in the Ruhr Area are active in the field of hydrogen, which can be understood as a clear sign of a growing hydrogen market for the Ruhr Area.

The Ruhr Area (located in the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia) has decades of experience in the production, distribution and use of hydrogen, especially in the (petro)chemical industry. Germany's longest industrial hydrogen pipeline (240 km) also connects chemical sites in the Ruhr with the Rhineland region. The conversion of this previously emission-laden grey hydrogen to green sources is complemented by a wide range of new production and application possibilities for hydrogen. The steel industry, mobility, generation at former power plant sites and the supply of neighbourhoods are particularly worthy of mention.

Many players – from large companies to SMEs, as well as research institutes and municipalities – are already active in the field of hydrogen in the above-mentioned areas. There are many further players that can be integrated into the hydrogen value chain ("hydrogen ecosystem") and network with each other.

This applies to the operators and users of hydrogen technology as well as the manufacturers of plants and systems and the suppliers of components. The development of such an integrated hydrogen ecosystem is actively supported by Hydrogen Metropole Ruhr, the region’s hydrogen coordination unit, run by Business Metropole Ruhr and the Ruhr Regional Association.

The Transition Super-Lab approach creates an environment which encourages experimentation in the field of hydrogen in order to further promote the green energy transition in the Ruhr Area and accelerate the shift towards climate neutrality. It provides the opportunity to develop innovative project ideas and test new modes of cooperation and co-creation between different players. The implementation of the Transition Super-Lab pilot is coordinated by Business Metropole Ruhr. Thanks to its close connection to Hydrogen Metropole Ruhr this process benefits from a vast stakeholder network and important competencies located in the region.

The vision of the TSL

 The Ruhr Area aims to be the greenest industrial region in Europe.

The principles of sustainability and resource efficiency are strengths of the Ruhr Area, and they will be the leading strategies against climate change.

In the region, hydrogen will be one of the key energies of the future in the economy and society.

The goal is to transform the infrastructure and industry of the region in an inclusive, collaborative, and innovative way so that the use of hydrogen, together with other renewable energies, significantly contributes to carbon neutrality.

Regional contact

Dmitri Domanski

Project Manager
Business Metropole Ruhr

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