Hydrogen technologies

Hydrogen plays a central role in achieving the climate targets. We are investigating how the individual technologies can be integrated into the energy system and used on a large scale.

Holger Hanselka

Hydrogen technologies are indispensable for the success of the energy transition. They can close the gap between fluctuating electricity generation from renewable energies and the demand for green electricity, replace fossil fuels in industrial processes and link the energy sectors electricity, heat, industry and transport more closely – and do so as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.

With its unique research infrastructure, Helmholtz is helping to develop, test and market hydrogen technologies. The spectrum ranges from the basics to application and covers the entire value chain.

Hydrogen can be used in many areas of the energy system and thus the energy sectors electricity, heat, industry and transport can be coupled even more closely (sector coupling). One example: If there is an oversupply of renewable electricity, industry can produce additional hydrogen, which can be used to power fuel cell vehicles, for example.

These fuel cells convert hydrogen directly into electrical energy and can be used for numerous applications: for the electric drive or on-board power supply of trucks, buses, aircraft, ships, forklift trucks and cars, for combined heat and power plants and for the power supply of off-grid devices. Helmholtz scientists are working on further improving the efficiency, durability and performance of fuel cells. To do this, they use different cell types that are precisely tailored to the respective applications.

Hydrogen can also be used to produce synthetic liquid fuels and base chemicals. Synthetic fuels are obtained from renewable electricity and CO2, but can be used in combustion engines like gasoline or diesel. Other advantages: They are easy to store and are suitable for use in ships, aircraft and trucks, for example, where electric drives are not an option. However, their production has so far been very expensive and complex and requires large amounts of renewable energy. Helmholtz researchers are developing new production processes up to industrial scale.


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  • Photo of Sören Wiesenfeldt

Competence Map Hydrogen

Around 600 employees at ten Helmholtz Centers are researching hydrogen technologies.

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National Hydrogen Strategy

With the National Hydrogen Strategy, the German Federal Government wants to make Germany the world's leading supplier of hydrogen technologies.

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