Hydrogen technologies

© Fraunhofer IKTS
Small-scale plant for demonstration of a coupled process for co-electrolysis and Fischer-Tropsch synthesis.

For a successful energy turnaround, great importance is attached to hydrogen as an energy carrier. Hydrogen technologies will be essential for low-emission production, mobility and energy supply. For Germany alone, sector coupling can be expected to result in a hydrogen demand of approx. 400 TWh per year by 2050.

Today, hydrogen is produced in large quantities by steam reforming of fossil raw materials such as natural gas or coal. In a future climate-neutral energy system, however, hydrogen must be produced largely emission-free, i.e. by electrolysis processes using renewable energies. In this case we speak of green hydrogen.

Due to the varying availability of renewable energies in terms of time and place, the future energy system will require new structures and value chains for energy conversion and distribution. For example, decentralized solutions for energy and material conversion will become economically attractive in coastal regions, where green electricity is available in large quantities via offshore wind turbines.

By using green hydrogen, process-related CO2 emissions can be avoided or converted into valuable products in the future, as in the steel industry or the lime and cement industry. In addition, green hydrogen can be used as an energy storage medium and can be converted back into electricity as required. With the operation of electrolyzers, control power for the electricity grid can be offered.

Electrolysis is a key technology for both hydrogen production and hydrogen use in the various sectors. Together with the expansion of renewable energy, it plays an important role in achieving climate targets and in establishing a sustainable hydrogen economy. The Fraunhofer IKTS can make an important contribution to the development and evaluation of hydrogen technologies.