To produce one kilogram of hydrogen, approximately 9 to 11 kilograms of highly pure water are needed. In countries in the MENA region or Southern Africa, this often requires extensive desalination of seawater. Due to the efficiency of desalination plants, the demand increases depending on the salinity from 20 to up to 30 kilograms of seawater.

Dr.-Ing. Gerd Sagawe, Member of the Board and Head of the Industrial Water Management Working Group

“As water is the primary medium in hydrogen production, efficient and process-appropriate water treatment plays a crucial role.”

In addition, the environmentally friendly handling of raw water and concentrated, sometimes warm brines as a residual material is important. The German water industry and its associated institutions can help establish meaningful standards with their expertise and potential to provide technology and process knowledge, thereby maintaining a very good and responsible position in international competition.

Green hydrogen from water

Water as a resource plays a decisive role in the production of green hydrogen. The members of the German Water Partnership are already offering innovative solutions from Germany to tackle global challenges – and are thus jointly realising the opportunities in this area.

Hydrogen: water technologies from Germany are an advantage in global competition

The production of green hydrogen for storing energy is a central component of the German and European path towards a climate-neutral society. Together with the other member states of the European Union, the German government has high hopes for hydrogen technologies, in particular for the goal of importing hydrogen to achieve climate protection targets.

Too little attention is still being paid to the fact that the provision of high-purity water for the production of green hydrogen poses challenges for local societies, whether due to the use of energy or due to acceptance issues to be addressed in the importing countries with regard to the use of water as a raw material. GWP and its members are working with German politicians to ensure that this challenge is actively addressed and that German solutions are used as an argument for sustainable cooperation with German players in competition with other countries as buyers of green hydrogen.

Imported hydrogen is a beacon of hope for achieving climate protection targets

Germany is competing internationally for partnerships with hydrogen producers. It is particularly important to offer solutions to challenges such as the provision of high-purity water at an early stage in order to avoid delays in the introduction of hydrogen technologies.

Efficient water treatment plays a key role in hydrogen production. The German water industry and its associated institutions contribute expertise and technological and process knowledge in order to set standards and strengthen a responsible position in international competition.

Why does water play a crucial role in hydrogen production?

Raw material for electrolysis: Hydrogen is often produced by electrolysis of water, in which water is split into its components hydrogen and oxygen. Water is therefore the primary raw material for this process.

Water purity: Ultra-pure water is required for electrolysis and the production of green hydrogen. Any impurities in the water can impair the efficiency of electrolysis or lead to undesirable by-products.

Efficiency of electrolysis: The efficiency of electrolysis, measured in terms of the energy required for hydrogen production, depends heavily on the quality of the water used. Pure water with low electrical conductivity enables efficient electrolysis and therefore cost-effective production of green hydrogen.

Environmental compatibility: Sustainable hydrogen production requires not only the use of renewable energy sources for electrolysis, but also the environmentally friendly extraction and use of water. This includes the careful use of water resources and minimising the environmental impact of the extraction and recycling process.

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