Goals: Best Prospect for Climate Neutrality

The Northern German Living Lab (NRL) aims to demonstrate new paths to climate neutrality: The cross-state collaborative project aims to test the holistic transformation of the energy system and thus demonstrate the path to a rapid defossilization of all consumption sectors.

Behind the Northern German Living Lab is a strong energy transition alliance with experienced partners, innovative approaches and concrete research and testing projects. We work closely networked in nine working groups. The NRL partners are united in their determination to drive the energy transition forward ambitiously and quickly. We have a clear vision that unites us: Climate neutrality – now!

The large-scale approach gives the project a supra-regional model role for electricity- and hydrogen-based sector coupling in Germany and Europe.

Industry Transition

The NRL stands for a strong, competitive, climate-neutral economy: we will accelerate the industrial transformation by deploying innovative technologies for a rapid expansion of sector coupling in the North. Thereby, we will support the rapid market ramp-up of hydrogen in particular. By making our approaches transferable, we aim to achieve important leverage effects.

The NRL is thus also contributing to the creation of the foundations for a functioning domestic market for CO2-free hydrogen with the perspective of expanding hydrogen technologies as one of the central business areas of the German export industry.

The Strong North

The NRL aims at a fast implementation of projects and thus the development of new market opportunities for the participating companies. Through this dynamic, we can become the "icebreaker" for the development of a northern German hydrogen economy, as well as promote the transportation and heat transformation.

We show how economic growth and climate neutrality can be combined and will thus sustainably strengthen the future viability of the economic region of northern Germany. And we will secure the development of new markets and thus create new jobs. Through this, the industrial location of northern Germany will become a beacon for sector coupling.

Climate Protection

Together in the NRL, we are testing the transformation path that must be taken to ensure that the nationwide climate targets are achieved. We are focusing on the rapid defossilization of industry, the mobility sector, and the heating sector. In doing so, we are pursuing ambitious goals:

Based on our projects, we will show how CO2 emissions in the north can be reduced by 75 percent by 2035. When all the reference plants planned in the NRL have gone into operation, we will be able to cut CO2 emissions by more than 350,000 tons per year. With the NRL, we will therefore make an important contribution on the way to climate neutrality.

Testing Innovative Technologies

In the NRL, the energy transition is becoming tangible: With the help of more than 20 reference projects relevant areas of consumption in industry, heat supply and the mobility sector are being successively defossilized. For instance, the Northern German Living Lab includes eight electrolysers with a hydrogen generation capacity of more than 40 MW. They are used in particular to replace fossil fuels in industrial processes with hydrogen or its derivatives.

In addition, several projects are being implemented at the NRL that enable waste heat utilization in the amount of 700 GWh per year.

As part of the NRL activities in the mobility sector, hydrogen-powered vehicles of various classes are being tested in different usage scenarios – for example, as waste collection vehicles, as public buses or as luggage transporters. Different refuelling concepts are being developed and implemented for their use.

Research Projects on Cross-Cutting Issues

NRL Forschungsvorhaben

A special feature of the project is its all-round view of the energy transition: In addition to the planned trial projects on CO2 reduction, cross-cutting issues are also taken into account.

In various research projects, the NRL partners are addressing the economic and social dimensions of the planned transformation path towards climate neutrality.

Potential analyses of new technologies, regulatory considerations and the development of new market and business models play just as much a role as studies on the skilled labour situation on the labour market and on society’s perception of the energy transition and the associated changes.

Networked Working Groups

The consideration of interfaces and interactions between the individual testing and research projects of the NRL partners is at the centre of the Northern German Living Lab.

Therefore, the cooperation of the NRL partners is organized in nine working groups (WG), which represent different main topics of focus. The working groups pursue overarching goals that contribute to showing new paths to climate neutrality with the Northern German Living Lab.

Through the WG structure, the best possible networking of the NRL partners is achieved to ensure the professional exchange and to develop synergies between the individual sub-projects.

WG 1

Networks & Infrastructures

WG 2

Holistic System Integration

WG 3

Industrial Transformation,
Social Participation & Transfer

WG 4

National Economy, Labour Market & Qualification

WG 5

New Markets, Business Models & Regulation

WG 6

Hydrogen Production

WG 7


WG 8

Heat / Districts

WG 9