PtX Lab Lausitz delivering synthetic fuels from the laboratory to aviation and shipping

Today Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze, Brandenburg’s Minister-President Dietmar Woidke and State Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Jörg Steinbach signalled the start of the PtX Lab Lausitz. In an opening dialogue with leaders in research and industry, they discussed cooperative projects on developing power-to-X technologies (PtX). These produce first hydrogen and then other fuels (X) from electricity (power). This new centre of excellence is to become an international hub for green hydrogen and its derivatives. In future, scientists and entrepreneurs in Cottbus will jointly drive forward the development of PtX technologies. Under the Act on Structural Change in Coal-Mining Regions, up to 180 million euros will be available for the PtX Lab Lausitz and a demonstration plant.

The PtX Lab Lausitz will create the technical bases for the environmentally sound generation and use of PtX technologies and will initiate cooperative projects. Expert dialogues are planned between researchers and business leaders to advance project development at the same table. Major technology enterprises will help innovative projects to move from the laboratory to practice. In order to make PtX understandable, a demonstration plant will be set up in Lausitz. The PtX Lab Lausitz aims to encourage stakeholders in Germany to network among themselves and with partners at European level and beyond. The cooperation with the Competence Centre for climate change mitigation in energy-intensive industries (KEI), based in Cottbus since 2019, will create important synergies. The executing agency for the PtX Lab Lausitz and KEI is ZUG gGmbH (Zukunkft – Umwelt – Gesellschaft), a federally owned company for the promotion of environmental protection, nature conservation and climate action.

Electricity-based fuels and base materials, also referred to as PtX (Power-to-X), will play a key role in climate change mitigation and the decarbonisation of industry in Germany and throughout the world. Where the direct use of electricity from renewables is not technically possible, green hydrogen and PtX products can make a decisive contribution to achieving the climate targets. For PtX technologies to be helpful in combating climate change it is essential to use electricity from renewable energies. The production and use of PtX-based fuels must have a positive climate footprint overall. That is why PtX technology plays an important role in modes of transport where, for technical reasons, the direct use of electricity is very limited in the long term. This is particularly the case for shipping and aviation. In road transport, the direct use of renewable electricity in electric vehicles is the more efficient climate-friendly option.

The Act on Structural Change in Coal Mining Regions, which entered into force in August 2020, implements the recommendations of the Commission on Growth, Structural Change and Employment. Under this law, the Federation grants financial support (up to 14 billion euros) for particularly important investments by the Länder and their municipalities until 2038, supplemented by further government measures totalling up to 26 billion euros. The Federal Environment Ministry (BMU) used this funding to establish the PtX Lab Lausitz, the Competence Centre for climate change mitigation in energy-intensive industries (KEI) and the Competence Centre for Electromagnetic Fields (KEMF) in Cottbus. The BMU will also set up a research and demonstration site for innovative water and wastewater technologies in Lausitz. In addition, on the initiative of the BMU, a National Centre for Biodiversity Monitoring and the environment and nature conservation data centre for Germany will be established in Leipzig. The BMU has also established a funding programme for all German lignite regions which supports municipal pilot projects to implement the ecological SDGs in regions of structural change (KoMoNa).