Cummins Part of Effort to Create Carbon Neutral Neighborhood

Sep 17, 2021 10:30 AM ET
Blog

Cummins Inc. electrolyzers producing low-carbon green hydrogen are part of an innovative effort in Germany to create a carbon neutral urban neighborhood.

The Neue Weststadt (New West Town) neighborhood is in Esslingen, Germany, a city of more than 90,000 people in the southern part of the country. The neighborhood spans over 100,000 square meters with over 450 apartments, office buildings and commercial space. According to officials, a neighborhood of this nature, on a converted freight yard and some three years in the making, has never been attempted before.

Funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Neue Weststadt integrates solar and hydrogen technology to power the neighborhood. Photovoltaic systems harness the power of the sun to generate electricity. Surplus energy from the solar systems power the Cummins electrolyzers, which create green hydrogen through electrolysis.

Electrolysis uses an electric current to separate hydrogen from water. Green hydrogen is hydrogen produced with electricity generated using low-carbon power sources such as solar power. The excess heat generated by the electrolysis process is captured and put back into the power supply to generate more electricity. Meanwhile, the green hydrogen is stored for later use depending on the neighborhood’s energy demands.

Some of the hydrogen produced will be fed into the neighborhood’s natural gas grid to contribute to the decarbonization of the gas sector. There are also plans to build a hydrogen filling station and a gas grid feed-in station in the neighborhood. 

Officials hope the neighborhood, which officially opened in June, will serve as a blueprint that others can follow to address the world’s climate challenges. Delegations from around the world have already visited Neue Weststadt.