860 Million Euros in Funding: The German Rheinische Revier Becomes a Hydrogen Model Region

By September 2, 2021 5   min read  (985 words)

September 2, 2021 |

Fuel Cells Works, 860 Million Euros in Funding: The Rheinische Revier Becomes a Hydrogen Model Region
  • Forschungszentrum Jülich establishes a new Helmholtz cluster for hydrogen economy

Jülich — Forschungszentrum Jülich will set up a Helmholtz cluster for sustainable and infrastructure-compatible hydrogen economy, HC-H2 for short, in the Rheinische Revier.

The lighthouse project for research-driven new value creation is funded by the Federal Ministry of Research within the scope of the Investment Act for Coal Regions over a period of around 17 years with around 860 million euros. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia is also participating in the development of the HC-H2 with state funds. Armin Laschet, Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, and Thomas Rachel MdB, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), will provide information about this on September 2 when the project is presented in the immediate vicinity of the Inden opencast mine.

The HC-H2 is intended to provide a strong impetus for the development of the Rheinische Revier and beyond that of the entire industrial location of North Rhine-Westphalia into a hydrogen model region with European charisma. To this end, the HC-H2 will research, develop and demonstrate on a large scale innovative technologies for the production, logistics and use of green hydrogen. Research and development, technology demonstration in real application scenarios as well as the integration of innovative technologies in existing infrastructures interlock in the HC-H2 and enable new value creation in the region. The aim is to strengthen the Rheinische Revier as an attractive location for innovative energy companies, industrial establishments and founders. New jobs with a wide variety of qualification profiles are to be created.

The focus is on quick implementation

The focus of the research – this is what distinguishes the HC-H2 – is on technologies that rely on existing or quickly and inexpensively installable infrastructures for the storage and transport of hydrogen. This should enable rapid implementation on a large scale. One example is the existing natural gas network, which can also be used to transport hydrogen. In addition, the HC-H2 concentrates on liquid or easily liquefiable hydrogen carriers, which can be handled in a similar way to conventional fossil fuels. For example, hydrogen can be stored chemically in the form of methanol or other alcohols and ammonia. Another focus will be the optimization and scaling of LOHC technology. Hydrogen is bound to organic carrier liquids. These can be transported by tankers or tank trucks, for example, and stored in tank farms. The existing infrastructure for liquid fuels can continue to be used.

Innovation and demonstration

An H2 innovation center will be established as the core of the HC-H2, in which Forschungszentrum Jülich will contribute its broad hydrogen expertise and network with partners. The new Institute for Sustainable Hydrogen Economy (INW) is founded in the research center itself. The decisive factor is building bridges into the application: an H2 demonstration region will be established around the core of innovation-driven research. In the entire Rheinische Revier, demonstration projects and systems are planned and set up on a relevant scale; they are intended to provide the decisive impetus so that entrepreneurial commitment to a sustainable hydrogen economy grows out of the cluster. It is essential for the entire HC-H2 that it connects the hydrogen activities of the region with each other and relevant partners from research, industry, Involves associations and municipalities. So that these activities can easily come together spatially, the work of the HC-H2 is to take place predominantly outside the campus of the research center; Forschungszentrum Jülich wants to set up its Institute for Sustainable Hydrogen Economy in the Brainergy Park in Jülich.

The establishment of the Helmholtz Cluster was decided last year as part of the federal-state agreement to phase out coal. As a large-scale research and innovation cluster, the HC-H2 is intended to drive structural change in the Rhenish lignite district and thus contribute to the phase-out of coal-fired power generation and the establishment of a new energy system in a climate-friendly, economical, secure and socially acceptable manner.

Voices on the project:

Prime Minister Armin Laschet: “The state government of North Rhine-Westphalia and the region have made it their joint task to develop the Rheinische Revier into a modern industrial region in the context of the European Green Deal in the course of the lignite phase-out. We want to create a climate-neutral country – socially acceptable and economically sustainable. The hydrogen economy plays a key role in this transformation. I am therefore very pleased that, with the establishment of the Helmholtz Cluster for Sustainable and Infrastructure-Compatible Hydrogen Economy (HC-H2) in the Rhenish Revier, we have the opportunity to become a hydrogen model region ‘made in North Rhine-Westphalia’. “Armin Laschet, Prime Minister of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia

Parliamentary State Secretary Thomas Rachel: “The structural change in the Rhenish Revier brings far-reaching changes for the region – away from coal and towards an energy region with a future. The promotion of the HC-H2 is an essential element in developing the Rhenish Revier into a hydrogen model region with pan-European radiance. For this purpose, we are providing around 860 million euros to coal regions as part of the Structural Strengthening Act. The BMBF is thus actively promoting the development of a green hydrogen economy and a sustainable energy system of the future. ” Thomas Rachel Member of the Bundestag, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Prof. Wolfgang Marquardt: “Forschungszentrum Jülich is committed to a successful structural change in the Rheinische Revier. We have set ourselves the goal of promoting pioneering concepts for an innovative and sustainable hydrogen economy. The ‘Helmholtz Cluster for Sustainable and Infrastructure-Compatible Hydrogen Economy’ will form a central nucleus for this with its focus on hydrogen logistics using chemical hydrogen carriers. Together with a network of cooperation partners, a wide variety of technology-neutral value chains will be covered in the future, from hydrogen production to cross-sectoral hydrogen use. By closely linking research and demonstration projects, we want to accelerate the transfer of research into practice.


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