Green hydrogen will become a core element of the future energy system. It can make a significant contribution to the desired greenhouse gas neutrality of all sectors by 2050 and contribute to the system integration of fluctuating renewable energies.
The Federal Government is currently striving to present a National Strategy for Hydrogen (NSW), in which the key points for the development of a hydrogen economy are worked out.
The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft has developed its own scientific positions on water electrolysis and hydrogen use and made them available to the ministries involved in strategy development (BMBF, BMU, BMWi, BMVI, BMZ) and the Chancellery.
Responsible for the »hydrogen roadmap«(Only in German) were the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, with the participation of the Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems IMWS and the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS.
Water electrolysis as the central technology of the energy transition
“Green” hydrogen and its synthesis products will play a central role in the greenhouse gas neutrality of all energy-consuming sectors, especially transport and industry. In addition to direct use, hydrogen will also become more important due to the increasing storage and transportability of the system integration of renewable energies. In their position paper, the Fraunhofer Institutes outline a possible path for the introduction and development of the hydrogen economy in the various fields of application. Water electrolysis will become a crucial industrial policy component in Germany, not only for the generation of the hydrogen required in Germany but also as a flexibility option in the German power grid and as a core technology for the international export market. For Germany alone, studies assume that the installed capacity of the technology will grow to 50 to 80 GW by 2050. To achieve this size, annual growth rates of electrolyzers in the double-digit MW range and up to the end of the 2020s in the range of 1 GW must be achieved immediately.
The Fraunhofer position paper shows various paths of the market ramp-up and suggests possible measures for realizing this market development: an adjustment of the regulatory framework for taxes, levies and levies on electricity to strengthen the sector coupling; the promotion of demonstration projects; the creation of internationally uniform regulations and standards on hydrogen and the dismantling of regulatory barriers for fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen filling stations. “In our view, the technology basis of the entire value chain exists,” says Prof. Dr. Christopher Hebling, Head of Hydrogen Technologies at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, »now it is important to set the course
New international energy partnerships
On a large scale, water electrolysers will be used in international regions where the cost of electricity from PV and wind turbines is less than € 3 ct / kWh and the number of full load hours of such systems is at least 4000 per year. This enables entry into a global trade in renewable energy sources since hydrogen and synthesis products based on it can be produced at internationally competitive costs. Hydrogen can be transported directly in liquid form analogous to LNG, but also in chemically bound form, as ammonia, methanol or LOHC (Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers).
“Many regions in the world are preparing for this form of trading in sustainably produced energy sources and basic chemicals, which will enable Germany to expand its energy partnerships beyond the previous fossil energy partnerships,” says Prof. Dr. Mario Ragwitz, head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Infrastructures and Geothermal Energy IEG. The expected global hydrogen demand also implies substantial opportunities for German industry through the generation of pioneering markets. Based on the estimates for the global installed electrolysis capacity of 3000 GW in 2050, the possible added value for German manufacturers in electrolysis and fuel cells was estimated at around 32 billion euros.
The institutes identified the following important topics for the implementation of an international energy trading system based on hydrogen:
- Creation of long-term, investment-safe regulations for a political regulatory security
- Further investment in research to reduce costs and increase product longevity
- Development of internationally harmonized and certified standards for hydrogen-based energy sources and chemicals
- System analysis to obtain information about the expected business models in the entire chain
- Energy partnerships with countries with high expansion potential for renewable energies in order to create a long-term attractive investment environment
- International research collaborations