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Wind and water to ammonia

Marine fuel and energy storage for a zero-emis­sion future

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What do you imagine when you hear of the Region North-East?

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CAMPFIRE consortium

The CAMPFIRE consor­tium was created with support from ‘WIR! – Change through Inno­va­tion in the Region’, a funding programme financed by the Federal Ministry of Educa­tion and Rese­arch (BMBF). The goal of the consor­tium is to rese­arch and develop new energy conver­sion and storage tech­no­lo­gies based on green ammonia for the energy system of the future. A long-term objec­tive is for small and medium-sized enter­prises (SMEs) in the region of Northeast Germany to estab­lish pathways for the utili­sa­tion of advanced tech­no­lo­gies that can be exported to other areas. CAMPFIRE tech­no­lo­gies produced in the Northeast will faci­li­tate the deve­lo­p­ment of an energy economy based on green ammonia and a carbon-free, secure energy supply in the Baltic Sea Region, in Europe, and abroad. In the long term, the consor­tium aims to develop effec­tive and cost-effi­cient methods to reduce the global carbon dioxide levels in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Northeast region

Northeast Germany, which encom­passes the cities of Rostock, Stral­sund, Greifs­wald and the nort­hern part of the Ucker­mark, has recently gained reco­gni­tion as an energy region that will play a key role in provi­ding a decar­bo­nised energy supply in the future. The area is charac­te­rised by a large on- and offshore wind capa­city, seaports, and ship­ping and ship­buil­ding compa­nies, as well their supply chains. Due to its geogra­phical loca­tion on the Baltic Sea, the region is ideal for the deve­lo­p­ment and imple­men­ta­tion of inno­va­tive energy and propul­sion concepts for mari­time mobi­lity. It is also an important loca­tion for the indus­trial produc­tion of ammonia, which is a raw mate­rial for ferti­liser produc­tion and the world’s most important hydrogen sink (accoun­ting for 55%). The Northeast region also has an estab­lished rese­arch land­s­cape and exper­tise in the fields of inno­va­tive energy produc­tion, chemi­cals and shipping.

Area of innovation

As part of the energy tran­si­tion (Ener­gie­wende), Germany has set itself the goal of trans­forming the current energy system into a zero-emis­sion energy system based on rene­wable ener­gies. Achie­ving this objec­tive will require the deve­lo­p­ment of new tech­no­lo­gies that allow rene­wable energy to be stored and utilised by making it avail­able to other sectors, such as trans­port and heating. In CAMPFIRE, the central focus is on inno­va­tive tech­no­lo­gies for the seasonal and decen­tra­lised produc­tion of ammonia from locally gene­rated wind or solar power, air and water, as well as on the utili­sa­tion of ammonia as an inno­va­tive energy carrier for use in zero-emis­sion mari­time mobi­lity and in the statio­nary energy supply. 


In addi­tion to its focus on tech­no­lo­gical issues, CAMPFIRE is exami­ning the legal, economic and poli­tical frame­work for the new membrane tech­no­lo­gies. To shed greater light on these issues, consor­tium part­ners hold inter­di­sci­pli­nary work­shops featuring in-depth dialogue and exchange with parti­ci­pants from the fields of poli­tics, industry and academia. Toge­ther, atten­dees iden­tify poten­tial appli­ca­tions for the new tech­no­logy and explore ways to imple­ment project rese­arch and objectives.

Significance of these innovations for the region

Active parti­ci­pa­tion in new regional value chains based on green ammonia will offer unique selling points, above all for SMEs in the supply and service industry for the mari­time sector and wind power industry. As climate policy goals increase demand for products compa­tible with sustainable struc­tural change, SMEs that lead the way in these tech­no­lo­gies will gain an edge over their compe­ti­tors. More broadly, these deve­lo­p­ments are expected to improve colla­bo­ra­tion across sectors, crea­ting a solid foun­da­tion for the emer­gence of other fields of inno­va­tion. Last but not least, these processes will moder­nise exis­ting orga­ni­sa­tional forms and coope­ra­tion between the scien­tific and economic actors in the region, and more inten­sive colla­bo­ra­tion with univer­si­ties and colleges will provide lasting bene­fits for the trai­ning of skilled workers and their employ­ment in the region.


In 2018, a seven-month concept phase was carried out by appro­xi­mately 30 regional and supra­re­gional consor­tium part­ners and suppor­ters, coor­di­nated by the Leibniz Insti­tute for Plasma Rese­arch and Tech­no­logy (INP). Toge­ther, parti­ci­pants deve­loped a clear vision for the north-eastern Germany’s economic future – a vision based on new, disrup­tive inno­va­tions in the field of green ammonia. The goal was to lay the ground­work for economic growth, such as by encou­ra­ging the deve­lo­p­ment of new busi­ness models and the streng­t­he­ning of SMEs in the region. In spring 2019, CAMPFIRE was selected by the BMBF as one of 20 projects to receive support for the first stage of the five-year imple­men­ta­tion phase. Since then, it has carried out a series of projects to develop ammonia tech­no­lo­gies in the product cate­go­ries ‘thin films’, ‘synthesis of green ammonia’, and ‘zero-emis­sion mari­time mobi­lity’. In 2021, CAMPFIRE was selected as a lead project in the BMBF Trans­HyDE plat­form for the compre­hen­sive deve­lo­p­ment of trans­port tech­no­lo­gies for green hydrogen. Over the next four years, the Trans­HyDE imple­men­ta­tion project Camp­fire will work closely with the Trans­HyDE rese­arch networks to develop rese­arch inter­faces for the intro­duc­tion of ammonia as a hydrogen trans­port solu­tion. It will also test demons­tra­tors for the centra­lised and decen­tra­lised use of ammonia, as well as the logistics struc­tures for ammonia import and distribution.