Innovative Hydrogen
Demonstration Region:
Rhenish Mining Area

Green hydrogen from renewable energy is a key component of the energy transition and plays a crucial role in achieving global climate goals. Technologies dedicated to the production, storage, transport, and use of green hydrogen have enormous potential to create value – on a global, national, and even a regional level.

The Helmholtz Cluster for a Sustainable and Infrastructure-Compatible Hydrogen Economy (HC-H2) researches, develops, and demonstrates innovative hydrogen technologies in terms of their production, logistics, and use. The focus is on technologies that draw on existing infrastructure, or infrastructure that is quick and inexpensive to install, for the storage and transport of hydrogen. In addition to technological approaches that use the natural gas network for hydrogen transport, HC-H2 is primarily pursuing approaches for chemical hydrogen storage using infrastructure for liquid energy carriers, for example for hydrogen storage in the form of methanol and other alcohols, in dehydratable alicyclic liquids (LOHC technology), and in the form of ammonia or formic acid.

HC-H2 is set up to be a scientific and technological lighthouse. The aim is to use practically relevant research to accelerate the development of a sustainable hydrogen economy and, specifically, to drive structural change in the Rhenish mining area. Forschungszentrum Jülich’s Institute for a Sustainable Hydrogen Economy (INW) forms the scientific and organizational core for this.

Hydrogen demonstration projects combine research with practical testing and will establish a regional innovation cluster by strengthening knowledge and technology transfer. The aim is that the Rhenish mining area will become an innovative hydrogen demonstration region with comprehensive new entrepreneurial activities and sustainable value creation.

The hydrogen demonstration region thrives on the participation of all relevant stakeholders from the area. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research is therefore calling on companies, research institutions, and other public and private institutions in the Rhenish mining area[1] to submit proposals for hydrogen demonstration projects.

[1] the districts of Rhein-Kreis Neuss, Düren, Rhein-Erft-Kreis, Aachen, Heinsberg, and Euskirchen, and the city of Mönchengladbach; see investment act for the coal-mining regions (InvKG), section 2(2).

Call to submit
expressions of interest

As a first step, stakeholders are now invited to submit expressions of interest. On no more than three pages, they should include the following aspects:

  • Technical description of the demonstration project with presentation of its innovative character
  • Implementation targets and economic impetus for the Rhenish mining area
  • Possible partnership structure
  • Time and cost planning

We recommend that you use the template provided below to submit your expression of interest.


Expressions of interest can be submitted at any time to the contact address given below. The expressions of interest received will be evaluated at the end of each quarter (31 March, 30 June, 30 September, 31 December) on the basis of the following key criteria:

  • Thematic compatibility
  • Level of innovation and intended knowledge gain
  • Feasibility in the Rhenish mining area and transferability to other regions
  • Impact of the project on structural change in the Rhenish mining area
  • Suitability of the planned project/partnership structure and cost planning

In the event of a positive initial evaluation, applicants will be asked to prepare a complete project outline together with the project coordinators at HC-H2. The next steps in the process are based on the requirements of the funding guidelines below.


We recommend that you use the template provided here to submit your expression of interest.
Submit your expression of interest to the following email address:

This is an informal call for proposals based on the notification of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research for the funding of grants within the Federal Government’s 7th Energy Research Programme “Innovations for the Energy Transition” published on 6 February 2019 (, amended by the notification on 27 September 2021 ( The provisions of this call for proposals apply in full.