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Polymer electrolyte membrane-based stack combination for characterization in the electrolysis test rig. Image: FZ Jülich

It is produced by electrolysis of water or steam with renewable electricity.

One challenge is to make established production processes such as electrolysis more cost-effective, sustainable and reliable. Here are two examples from the extensive Helmholtz research: Scientists are working on a method in which sunlight is used directly to split water. In another project, the researchers are converting carbon dioxide into "green synthesis gas" that can be used, for example, as the basis for the production of fuels.

With its research activities on hydrogen production, Helmholtz is pursuing the goal of transferring the results from the laboratory to demonstration plants on an industrial scale. Only in this way can hydrogen be used on a large scale in the energy system and make an important contribution to climate protection.

Hydrogen from Natural Gas without CO2 Emissions

Methane pyrolysis will allow for the future climate-friendly use of fossil natural gas: Methane is separated into gaseous hydrogen and solid carbon that is a valuable material for various industry branches and can also be stored safely. Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have developed a highly efficient process for this purpose.

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Development of the world's largest solar hydrogen reactor

With Synlight, the DLR Institute of Solar Research in Jülich operates the world's largest research facility for the generation of artificial sunlight. The solar simulator achieves 10,000 times the intensity of the Earth's natural solar radiation and is primarily used to develop solar fuels.

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20,000 hours of operation of a direct methanol fuel cell system.

Direct methanol fuel cells convert the liquid fuel methanol directly into electric power. Compared to fuel cell systems operated with pure hydrogen or hydrogen-rich gases from reforming processes, the fuel is fed directly into the cell via liquid methanol.

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Hydrogen Production with Silicon Solar Cells

Jülich researchers have developed a multijunction solar cell made of silicon which can be manufactured comparatively cheaply and produces hydrogen directly from sunlight using the principle of artificial photosynthesis.

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Demonstration of an artificial leaf for solar hydrogen production

To produce hydrogen in a climate-neutral way, scientists are working on a method that uses sunlight directly to split water: The so-called photoelectrochemical water splitting.

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Hydrogen production using sunlight

Solar energy is not available 24/7. However, it can be stored through a process that also takes place in green plants. Light is able to split water molecules, producing oxygen and hydrogen. This hydrogen gas can be stored or transported.

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Producing hydrogen cost-effectively and sustainably

Scientists at Forschungszentrum Jülich are working to make established processes for the production of hydrogen, such as electrolysis, more cost-effective and sustainable.

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Test fields for electrolyzer/photovoltaic combinations

One of the most promising ways to increase the availability of solar energy is to convert excess production into hydrogen. The PECSYS project has investigated the best possible material and technology combinations to facilitate such an operation.

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Biocatalysts for hydrogen production

UFZ researchers are developing cyanobacterial biocatalysts that can release hydrogen directly from water. The natural ability of cyanobacteria is used to split water using solar energy and at the same time bind the greenhouse gas CO2. The product is hydrogen.

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Green hydrogen: Research to enhance efficiency

Laboratory experiments and a parabolic flight campaign have enabled an international team of researchers from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) to gain new insights into water electrolysis, in which hydrogen is obtained from water by applying electric energy. Water electrolysis could play a key role in the energy transition if efficiency improvements can be achieved.

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Hydrogen and its reactions in the spot of the X-ray light

Using X-rays from the large-scale facilities at DESY, researchers explore water at the molecular level. This includes the search for new, highly efficient catalysts for the splitting of water into hydrogen, which can be controlled by sunlight. In addition, reactions on nanoparticles for the chemical storage of energy and hydrogen can be characterized in real time at the X-ray sources. The International Centre for Molecular Water Research CMWS will be driving this work forward in the future.

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