The real-life laboratory

Intelligent production, storage, transport, marketing and use of green hydrogen


Green hydrogen plays a key role in the successful implementation of the energy transition. Renewable electricity produced by electrolysis is environment friendly, easy to store and supports efficient intersectoral energy integration by compensating for weather-related fluctuations in solar and wind power generation as well as seasonal fluctuations in demand and covering peak loads. What’s more, it can be used in a variety of ways: whether in the supply of electricity or heat, in electromobility or in the chemical industry. However, the development of a global hydrogen economy is still in its infancy. This is precisely where the Bad Lauchstädt Energy Park comes into play.

The Bad Lauchstädt Energy Park is a production-scale real-life laboratory for the intelligent production of green hydrogen and its storage, transport, marketing and use. This real-life laboratory is testing the entire value chain of green hydrogen on an industrial scale for the first time. A 30 MW electrolysis plant uses renewable electricity from the nearby wind farm to produce green hydrogen. Temporarily stored in a salt cavern specially created for this purpose, the green hydrogen can be fed into the hydrogen supply network for the chemical industry in Central Germany via a converted gas pipeline and used for future urban mobility solutions. The real-life laboratory contributes to research into tomorrow’s green hydrogen technologies. bringing them to market maturity – for a technologically strong and future-oriented hydrogen-based economy in the Central Germany region and successful intersectoral energy integration throughout the Federal Republic.

Über das Projekt_Teaser Wissenschaftliche Begleitung

Project status

After the project was officially launched in September 2021 with the approval of state funding, the first phase of the project focused on planning issues and obtaining approvals. This first phase was concluded with a final investment decision (FID) by the consortium partners. The second phase of the project, which began in June 2022 and focuses on construction, was officially launched in the presence of the Prime Ministers of the federal states of Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt with the first ground-breaking ceremony. Eight wind turbines and the electrolyser will be installed for this purpose. Measures are also under way to convert the pipeline to hydrogen transport. This is followed by the construction of the research facility for gas measurement and gas purification. The commissioning of all sub-systems is planned for 2025.

Cornelia Müller-Pagel


Cornelia Müller-Pagel

Spokeswoman of the consortium and 
Head of Green Gases

Project schedule

September 2021

Release of state funding

  • Start: Preparation of research and development work and site preparation
  • Start: Preparation of the licensing procedures, in particular for the construction of the large-scale electrolysis plant and the rededication of the natural gas pipeline as a hydrogen transport pipeline
October 2021

1st public information event


scheduled completion of compliance with BImSchV (Immission Control Ordinance)

  • Scheduled approval for wind farm
  • Scheduled authorisation for electrolysis

until 4/2023

Site preparation

  • Site preparation for electrolysis
  • Site preparation for storage facility (above-ground facility)
from 5/2023

Start of construction work

  • Construction of transformer station
from 7/2023

Start of wind farm construction

from Q4 2023

Commissioning of wind farm

until Q4 2024

Conversion of natural gas pipeline

  • Conversion and upgrading of the natural gas pipeline to hydrogen transport
  • Commissioning
until Q2 2025


  • Construction of large-scale electrolysis with subsequent pilot operation
  • Construction of a gas scrubbing system

    from Q3 2025


    • Electrolysis
    • Gas purification and gas volume measurement during pilot operation
    August 2026

    Completion of hydrogen production pilot operation

    Financing of the project

    Total investments of around EUR 210 million are being made in the future of the hydrogen region in Central Germany and research into intersectoral energy integration is being actively promoted. As a “real-world laboratory for the energy transition”, the majority of the project modules are funded with around EUR 34 million from federal funds as part of the 7th energy research program of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (BMWK). The seven consortium partners are also contributing just over EUR 103 million to the real-world laboratory. 

    Terrawatt Planungsgesellschaft mbH is investing an additional EUR 73 million in the wind farm at Bad Lauchstädt Energy Park. This major investment is therefore a central component of a secure and sustainable energy supply in the Central Germany region.

    Consortium of experienced partners with proven expertise

    Terrawatt Planungsgesellschaft mbH has been developing and implementing turnkey projects in wind power and photovoltaics for over 25 years. With many years of experience as a planner, investor, operator and manager, the company is in a position to comprehensively manage all aspects of project implementation from identifying a suitable location through to the turnkey handover of the systems and the design the individual project phases by its own skilled specialists. In addition, the company is nationally and internationally active as a service provider and technical consultant, and can draw on a wealth of experience from over 300 projects with more than 1,500 wind turbines.

    Uniper is an international energy company based in Düsseldorf and present in more than 40 countries. With around 7,000 employees, the company makes an important contribution to security of energy supply in Europe. Uniper’s core activities include power generation in Europe, global energy trading and a widely based gas portfolio. Uniper procures gas – also in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG) – and other energy sources on the world markets. The company owns and operates gas storage facilities with a capacity of more than 7 billion cubic metres. Uniper is planning to operate its approximately 22.5 GW of installed power generation capacity in Europe in a carbon-neutral manner by 2035. The company is already one of the largest operators of hydroelectric power plants in Europe, and plans to further expand solar and wind energy as the key to a more sustainable and independent future.    

    Uniper is a reliable partner for municipalities, public utilities and industrial companies when planning and implementing innovative, CO2-reducing solutions as they move towards complete decarbonisation of their activities. As a hydrogen pioneer, Uniper is active worldwide along the entire value chain and implements projects to make hydrogen usable as a mainstay of the energy supply.

    VNG Handel & Vertrieb GmbH (VNG H&V), based in Leipzig, flexibly and reliably supplies natural gas to trading companies, redistributors, municipal utilities, power station operators and industrial customers in Germany and abroad. Innovative products, diverse services and individual concepts for an environmentally friendly energy supply offer comprehensive support in the implementation of the energy transition. With sales offices across Germany and in neighbouring countries, investments and business contacts across much of Europe, and as part of the VNG AG group of companies, VNG Handel & Vertrieb GmbH is always close to its customer yet well positioned internationally.

    VNG Gasspeicher GmbH (VGS) is currently the third largest gas storage operator in Germany with around 2.2 billion cubic metres of active storage capacity. As a wholly owned subsidiary of VNG AG and with its headquarters in Leipzig, VGS has almost 50 years of experience in the construction and operation of underground gas storage facilities and the related technological processes. The core business of VGS is the operation of storage facilities and the marketing of storage capacity. In addition, VGS acts as the technical operator for third-party storage facilities and provides engineering services for its customers in the areas of plant construction and measurement technology.

    ONTRAS Gastransport GmbH, headquartered in Leipzig, is an interregional transmission system operator forming, part of the European gas transport system. ONTRAS operates the second longest transmission network in Germany with over 7,500 kilometres of pipeline and around 450 network connection points for customer gas transport. As a reliable partner, the company reconciles the interests of transport customers, traders, regional network operators and renewable gas producers. 22 biogas facilities and two power-to-gas plants feed green gases (biomethane, synthetic methane or hydrogen) into the ONTRAS network.

    DBI – Gastechnologisches Institut gGmbH Freiberg is an independent research institute of the DVGW e.V. (German Association of Gas and Water Industries). It conducts research into the entire supply chain of gaseous energy sources in numerous projects. It has been working on projects for the integration of green hydrogen since 2005. The Institute’s experience ranges from underground gas storage and transport through to hydrogen utilisation technologies in industry and households.

    VNG is a group of over 20 companies active in the European energy industry with more than 1,500 employees. As the third largest gas importer and gas storage operator in Germany and, through its subsidiary ONTRAS Gastransport GmbH, operating a 7,700 km pipeline network, the Leipzig-based Group is central to assuring Germany’s gas supply. VNG supplies gas to around 400 municipal utilities and industrial customers, meeting around 20 per cent of Germany’s demand for gas. In addition, with its ‘VNG 2030+’ strategy, VNG is pursuing ambitious targets in its commitment in the field of renewable and decarbonised gases. VNG is already one of the leading producers of biogas in Germany and is actively involved in many projects to establish a CO2-free hydrogen economy. Building on its core expertise in gas and critical infrastructure, VNG is operating along the entire gas value chain to ensure a sustainable, climate-neutral and secure energy supply for the future.


    BMWK as sponsor of the real-world laboratory of the energy transition

    The Bad Lauchstädt Energy Park is being funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (BMWK) as a real-life laboratory for the energy transition. As part of the Federal Government’s 7th Energy Research Programme, the BMWK supports companies and research institutions such as the Bad Lauchstädt Energy Park, which develop new technologies and solutions for the energy transition and implement them under real conditions and on an industrial scale. Acting as link between technological development and market acceptance, the real-world laboratories of the energy transition are intended to accelerate the transfer from research to the market.

    HYPOS - A strong partner of the Bad Lauchstädt Energy Park

    The Bad Lauchstädt Energy Park builds on the preliminary work of several research projects within the framework of HYPOS e.V. activities. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the HYPOS network comprises interdisciplinary project consortia researching the innovation potential of green hydrogen in the chemical, refinery, mobility and energy supply sectors, from electricity supply to production, storage, distribution and utilisation. Together, over 140 HYPOS members are pursuing the goal of establishing a cross-sector green hydrogen economy in the hydrogen region of Central Germany.