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November 5, 2020

International cooperation on climate and environmental topics takes another step forward for Minnesota and Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia. The CSM family made it possible. On November 5, 2020 Minister Ursula Heinen-Esser and Commissioner Laura Bishop signed an agreement to cooperate on “Environmental protection, sustainable development, and climate adaptation.” The inspiring virtual ceremony featured speeches by the two ministers, Mayor Kim Norton (City of Rochester), Ulrike Badziura (City of Iserlohn), Germany’s Consul General Wolfgang Moessinger, and U.S. Consul General Fiona Evans. Beginning January 1, 2021, the cooperation will run four years. “We have ambitious plans,” Minister Heinen-Esser explained.


The envisioned intensive exchange and mutual learning focuses on 7 areas:

• water protection and wastewater treatment

• environment and health

• exchange of experience for students in the field of environmental studies

• resource efficiency and cleaner production

• sustainability strategies at state level

• strategies and projects for climate change adaptation

• promotion of a circular economy


Both agency leaders are looking to the CSM group for specific projects and activities that will generate mutually beneficial and inspiring results. The ministers hope to participate in another virtual meeting with the CSM group in spring to learn about first initiatives.

October 15, 2020

CSM member Saerbeck in North Rhine-Westphalia has been selected as the site of electrolyzer manufacturer Enapter’s first electrolyzer mass-production facility. After considering over 100 potential areas for the manufacturing campus, Saerbeck was chosen chiefly due to its “100% locally produced renewable energy and its inviting infrastructure,” said chairman Sebastian-Justus Schmidt. The new facility will establish the North Rhine-Westphalia region as a hydrogen technology hub, producing a projected 100,000 anion exchange membrane (AEM) electrolyzer systems annually.


The manufacturing site will strive to be holistically sustainable, relying on Saerbeck’s existing solar, wind, and biomass plants and integrating zero-waste practices. Food waste will be sent to the local biomass renewable energy facility. The campus will also act as a center for recycling retired electrolyzer technology.


Construction is anticipated to start early in 2021, with electrolyzer manufacturing beginning in 2022.

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