Establishing the Ominous Four

Andreas Peschel begrüßt die Gäste zur 2. Auflage des HC-H2 Brainergy Connect. Foto: Forschungszentrum Jülich/Jansen

“So what’s behind this ‘ominous four’?” Andreas Peschel raised this question himself after welcoming the guests to the second-ever HC-H2 Brainergy Park Connect event in the heart of the Rhenish mining area.

A meeting between neighbours of Brainergy Park

The Helmholtz hydrogen cluster (HC-H2) launched an event in May in which neighbours of Brainergy Park, and those looking to move into the industrial park, come together. The second-ever meeting has now taken place. Brainergy Park is an intercommunal and innovative new industrial park to the north of the town of Jülich, which is being built according to the latest sustainable technology. New jobs are to be created here in the Rhenish mining area over the next few years. Initial construction activities can already be seen, with more set to follow.

“In the future, when a plant is commissioned and put into operation as part of our projects in the Rhenish mining area, INW-4 will certainly be involved.”

Prof. Andreas Peschel

HC-H2 is one of the pillars of Brainergy Park and is working to ensure that the Rhenish mining area becomes a globally visible demonstration region for new hydrogen technologies. To this end, innovative demonstration facilities are to be installed in the region. Forschungszentrum Jülich’s Institute for a Sustainable Hydrogen Economy (INW) forms the core of HC-H2.

Prof. Andreas Peschel, Direktor des Institutsbereichs INW-4. Foto: Forschungszentrum Jülich/Guido Jansen
The ominous four

This brings us the “ominous four” mentioned by Peschel at the outset. INW conducts basic research in the field of chemical hydrogen storage. There are four dedicated subinstitutes ranging from the molecular level at INW-1 (catalytic interfaces) right up to INW-4, which is “focused on apparatus, processes, and plant engineering,” explained Peschel. As professor, he has been the head of INW-4 since 1 March. “In the future, when a plant is commissioned and put into operation as part of our projects in the Rhenish mining area, INW-4 will certainly be involved.”

Nine positions advertised at INW-4 alone

The specific aim is to take innovative new devices from basic research and put them into application, according to Peschel. This is what the future of the “ominous four” looks like. At present, Peschel’s task is to put a team in place. The subsinstitute currently consists of six people, “with new additions joining each month. But it’s not easy to find good personnel. We need to bring team leaders on board in future. We also require technical centres in which we can develop our technologies. These are the tasks we are facing at the moment.” INW-4 is currently advertising nine new positions.

Rhenish mining area to establish itself as a brand

Peschel invited the guests to work together more closely to overcome the challenging task of structural change. “Our research is our contribution. And there is the possibility that our projects partners can receive up to 50 % funding for their contributions. We can help in the formation of consortia as well as to ensure that projects meet the necessary qualification criteria.”

Das HC-H2 sucht ständig neue Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter, sowohl im wissenschaftlichen als auch im technischen Bereich. Foto: Forschungszentrum Jülich/Jansen

Network head Fabian Patzak spoke to guests about one of the major goals: “We want to establish the Rhenish mining area as a brand for innovative hydrogen technologies. The more success we have in doing so, the easier it will be to find good new employees and partners who can help us to roll out environmentally friendly energy technology beyond our region.”

And because it is easier to achieve such ambitious goals through collaboration, HC-H2 now regularly hosts an event for all neighbours at Brainergy Park and those who want to move into the industrial park. In a relaxed setting, the new neighbours have the chance to get to know each other, share experiences, talk about problem-solving, and discuss cooperation.