The Helmholtz Cluster for Sustainable and Infrastructure-Compatible Hydrogen Economy HC-H2 has two major goals: Firstly, we want to make a contribution to stop global warming. We want to show how important and suitable for everyday use hydrogen can be as a climate-neutral energy carrier so that the world can do without burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil or gas.
Secondly, we want to be an important part of the solution for structural change in the Rhenish mining area. The structural change is already underway because the companies have started to reduce the amount of electricity they generate from lignite. This means a loss of jobs. That’s why new jobs have to be created. We want to do that in cooperation with our partners from business, industry and science, among others in our cluster in the Rhenish mining area.
We haven’t reached our goal yet: hydrogen is usually made available either as a gas compressed at high pressure (up to 700 bar) or as a deep-frozen liquid (approx. -250 degrees). This is precisely where the Helmholtz Cluster for Sustainable and Infrastructure-Compatible Hydrogen Economy (HC-H2) comes in. The goal in Jülich and the Rhenish mining area is to conduct basic research and then show the world storage methods that make hydrogen an everyday energy carrier or fuel that can be provided without high pressure or low temperatures.
The HC-H2 is therefore planning, among other things, demonstration projects that show that the research results work in practice and on a large scale. The basic research is being conducted by the Institute for Sustainable Hydrogen Economy (INW) of Forschungszentrum Jülich. A hydrogen demonstration region is being created around the INW in cooperation with partners from industry, business and research. It is important that existing infrastructures such as pipelines, filling stations or tanks can continue to be used.
With the topic of infrastructure compatibility, we are aiming at the speed of implementation. In most cases, the development of new infrastructures is more time-consuming than the actual technology development. If we succeed with our new technologies in handling green hydrogen in existing gas pipelines, but especially also in the existing infrastructure for liquid energy carriers, i.e. tankers, tank trucks, tank farms, – where we do not want to have any more fossil mineral oil products in the future – then we can significantly accelerate the energy transition here in North Rhine-Westphalia, but also in Europe and the world.