Hydrogen Research Network

Drops in molecular form
©Thomas - stock.adobe.com

In the Hydrogen Research Network, experts from industry, universities and research institutes exchange ideas on production, storage, distribution and cross-sectoral use of hydrogen. As an element of the German National Hydrogen Strategy, the research network provides suggestions for the research and application of hydrogen technologies along the entire value chain. With jointly developed recommendations and statements, it serves as an impetus for funding strategies around the topic of hydrogen.

With the National Hydrogen Strategy, the Federal Government has underlined the pivotal role of hydrogen for the energy transition. Hydrogen as a storage medium and energy carrier enables efficient sector coupling of the electricity, heat and transport sectors. In addition, hydrogen serves as a feedstock in refineries and the chemical industry and also as a possible substitute for coke in the steel production. It is thus another key element for the decarbonisation of the industrial, heat and transport sectors.

Hydrogen - energy carrier of the future

As an energy carrier of the future, hydrogen offers a diverse research and development field for companies and science institutions. In order to ensure the broadest possible exchange, these topics are discussed on a cross-sectoral basis.

The Hydrogen Research Network, which has its focus on application-oriented energy research and practical transfer, is funded within the framework of the 7th Energy Research Programme by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK). Because of the interdepartmental significance of the topic, the Federal Ministries for Digital and Transport (BMDV) and Education and Research (BMBF) are also involved. The new hydrogen research network offers experts a technology-neutral, interdisciplinary forum.

Making innovative technologies ready for the market

The members of the network develop recommendations for the future orientation of the Federal Government's innovation and research funding in the field of hydrogen technologies. The focus is on research and innovation, on demonstration projects to test the market readiness of already developed technologies as well as on real laboratories close to the market to prepare and support their market introduction.

Since hydrogen research covers a very broad range of topics, the research network is divided into four clusters. The members of the clusters can exchange information among themselves and with other energy research networks. The clusters are open to all members of the research network: Everyone can participate in an in-depth technical discussion and in activities within the clusters.

In the cluster "Production of Hydrogen and Downstream Products", the various technologies for producing low-CO2 hydrogen and hydrogen-based downstream products, such as fuels and chemical base materials, are highlighted.

In the field of hydrogen, the focus is on the production of so-called "green hydrogen" through various processes of water electrolysis with renewable energy. Furthermore, alternative photocatalytic, photobiological and thermal processes, processes using biomass for hydrogen production, alternative pathways for the low-CO2 production of blue and turquoise hydrogen as well as the integration of technical systems into the energy system are considered.

In the area of downstream products, technologies for conversion into other hydrogen-based energy carriers that increase storage and transport capability are examined. These include synthetic fuels and basic materials for chemical and industrial applications.


Dr. Isabel Kundler
Website: Dechema

Dr. Tom Smolinka
Website: Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems

The "Infrastructures and System Integration" cluster focuses on the question of how hydrogen can be stored and distributed as cost-effectively, safely and environmentally friendly as possible. Considering that gas grids and storage, together with corresponding electricity infrastructures, represent the backbone of the entire energy system, this cluster also sheds light on the relevant transformation aspects at the overall system level in order to develop an optimised research strategy.

In most cases, the sites where hydrogen is produced are spatially distant from places where the hydrogen is used, such as industry or neighbourhoods. Production and use also take place independently of each other in terms of time. The quantities produced must therefore be stored and transported in order to make the hydrogen available on demand at the relevant user locations, while an optimal mutual system benefit between the different energy sectors must be ensured.


Prof. Dr. Carsten Agert
Website: DLR Institute for Networked Energy Systems

Dr. Urban Keussen
Website: EWE

The cluster "Utilisation" focuses on the industrial use of hydrogen as well as stationary and mobile applications. In the industrial sector, the focus is on low-CO2 steel and metal production and the provision of process heat. The stationary applications sector covers the heat and power supply of private, commercial and industrial buildings using combined heat and power or low-temperature heat. Mobile applications include the use of hydrogen in cars, trucks, rail transport, shipping and aviation.


Dr. Philipp Perrin
Website: Bosch Thermotechnology

Dr. Jens Reichel
Website: thyssenkrupp Steel Europe

The consideration of safety aspects primarily concerns the components and systems, especially their operation in all areas of the value chain, as well as the production, storage, transport and use of hydrogen. It should be possible to demonstrate sustainable operation and protection of the environment and climate. Internationally uniform norms, standards and test guidelines are to be drafted for this purpose or existing specifications adapted to the new technologies. The guarantee of safe hydrogen technologies is a basic prerequisite for increasing acceptance. This will increase the willingness to invest in hydrogen technologies and enable their widespread use through a successful, sustainable market launch.


Dr. Kai Holtappels
Website: Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)

Simon Pichlmaier
Website: FfE Research Centre for Energy Economics


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