Where do we come from?

Establishment of a Helmholtz cluster for sustainable and infrastructure-compatible hydrogen economy at the Research Centre Jülich, including the establishment of research utilisation 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 promising and climate-friendly sectors and industries where jobs are being lost because Germany is phasing out lignite as an energy source. That is precisely our mission. In the middle of the Rhenish mining area, the largest of the five lignite mining areas in Germany.

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia are funding the Helmholtz Cluster for a Sustainable and Infrastructure-Compatible Hydrogen Economy (HC-H2) until 2038 with 860 million euros. Spread over the next 16 years, the 860 million euros will flow both into the establishment of the Institute for Sustainable Hydrogen Economy (INW) of Forschungszentrum Jülich and into the HC-H2. The INW is currently ramping up and will consist of four institute areas by the end of 2023. The 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 INW is expected to have around 400 employees in 2025 and will continue to grow thereafter.

The funding will also be used to support the demonstration projects that are planned throughout the Rhenish mining area. INW’s cooperation with partners from research, industry and business takes 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.  The construction and operation of the demonstration projects should provide new jobs. With the successful demonstration projects, the Rhenish mining area is to become a globally visible beacon, with technologies that will subsequently contribute to the climate-friendly energy industry of the future all over the world.

INW and HC-H2

What is what?

The Institute for Sustainable Hydrogen Economy (INW) of Forschungszentrum Jülich is the core unit of the HC-H2. It is the youngest of a total of eleven institutes at the Forschungszentrum Jülich and is currently ramping up. Unlike the other ten institutes, it is not being built on the Forschungszentrum campus, but in the Brainergy Park in Jülich, an inter-communal and innovative industrial park. The location reflects Forschungszentrum Jülich’s self-image of playing an important role in the midst of structural transformation. Basic research on the topic of the hydrogen economy takes place at INW. At the same time, cooperation with partners from research, universities, industry and business is coordinated from here. The HC-H2 brings together the INW’s cooperation with project partners from science, academia and industry. The goal of the HC-H2 is to bring the basic research done at INW into application with the help of the partners. We are working to ensure that new jobs are created in the HC-H2’s wake, that companies settle in the Rhenish mining area, that start-ups or spin-offs emerge and work with us towards the great goal of making hydrogen a major energy carrier of the future.