Who are we?

Establishment of a Helmholtz Cluster for Sustainable and Infrastructure-Compatible Hydrogen Economy at Forschungszentrum Jülich including the development of research utilization chains”

This is what it says in Germany’s “Structural Strengthening Act for Coal Regions” which was passed in 2020. The aim of the Structural Strengthening Act is to create new jobs in future-oriented and climate-friendly industry sectors in an area where jobs are being lost because Germany is phasing out lignite as an energy source. That is exactly what we want to achieve in the middle of the Rhenish mining area, the largest of the five lignite mining areas in Germany.

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia are funding the Helmholtz Cluster for a Sustainable and Infrastructure-Compatible Hydrogen Economy (HC-H2) to the tune of € 860 million until 2038. Spread over the next 16 years, the € 860 million will be used to establish both the Institute for a Sustainable Hydrogen Economy (INW) at Forschungszentrum Jülich as well as HC-H2. INW is currently in a ramp-up phase and will consist of four institute areas by the end of 2024. Those institute areas focus on the different development stages of new technologies, starting with basic research and laboratory scale up to the ready-to-operate system.

The funding will also be used to realize demonstration projects planned throughout the Rhenish mining area. INW’s cooperation with partners from research, industry, and business will take place under the umbrella of HC-H2. Here, the partners want to demonstrate on an industrial scale that the technologies developed make the hoped-for contribution to climate protection and are economically lucrative at the same time. Apart from fighting climate change, the funding of demonstration projects creates new jobs. The ultimate goal of those demonstration projects is to turn the Rhenish mining area into a lighthouse visible from all over the world, showing the way to the climate-friendly energy industry of the future with its new technologies.

The first projects have already begun to take concrete shape. One focuses on supplying heat to a larger building complex using hydrogen as an energy carrier. The other project is intended to show how hydrogen can be made available after electrolysis as logistically optimized as possible on a decentralized basis and in small margins.

INW and HC-H2

What is what?

The Institute for Sustainable Hydrogen Economy (INW) at Forschungszentrum Jülich forms the core of HC-H2. It is the youngest of the eleven institutes at Forschungszentrum Jülich and is currently being established. Unlike the other ten institutes, it is not being built on the campus of Forschungszentrum Jülich, but in the Brainergy Park in Jülich, an inter-municipal and innovative business park. The location reflects Forschungszentrum Jülich’s self-image of playing an important role in the midst of structural change.

The INW conducts basic research on the hydrogen economy. At the same time, cooperation with partners from research, universities, industry and business is coordinated from here. The HC-H2 combines INW’s cooperation with project partners from science, education and industry. The aim of the HC-H2 is to bring the basic research carried out at the INW into application with the help of the partners. We are working to ensure that new jobs are created in the wake of the HC-H2, companies settle in the Rhenish mining area, start-ups or spin-offs are created and work with us on the major goal of making hydrogen a major energy source of the future.

What do you still need to know?

We'll tell you