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“Green Hydrogen”: Innovation Laboratories for Projects on Hydrogen Technologies at Leibniz University Hannover

“Green Hydrogen”: Innovation Laboratories for Projects on Hydrogen Technologies at Leibniz University Hannover

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Ministry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony provides funding for projects advancing the key technology

Hydrogen generated from renewable energies as a key to energy transition and climate protection: The programme “Innovationslabore für Wasserstofftechnologien” (innovation laboratories for hydrogen technologies) of the Ministry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony (MWK) provides funding for research collaborations aiming to advance this future technology. Two out of five projects that have been awarded funding are led by Leibniz University Hannover (LUH), another project is conducted in collaboration with LUH. Three out of the five projects that were approved in the first round will be selected next year. From summer 2021, each of these projects will receive two million euros of funding. During the initial phase, each project is in receipt of funding amounting to 100,000 euros.      

The MWK funding programme is aimed at research and innovation projects on generating, processing, transporting, storing or using “green hydrogen”. The two innovation laboratories led by Leibniz University Hannover conduct research in the field of water electrolysis and hydrogen combustion.

In order to use hydrogen as a source of energy, water must be decomposed into its constituents hydrogen and oxygen – a fairly energy-intensive process. Hydrogen technology can only be eco-friendly and efficient if energy from renewable sources such as wind or solar energy is used in the decomposition process, the electrolysis. Since no CO2 is emitted during combustion, hydrogen has great potential as a future source of energy.

The project on the electrolysis process is led by Dr.-Ing. Richard Hanke-Rauschenbach from the LUH Institute of Electric Power Systems and is conducted in collaboration with colleagues from various higher education institutions and research facilities in Lower Saxony. The team aims to generate hydrogen in a much more efficient manner. “We are currently working on an industrial scale. However, we intend to increase the energy conversion efficiency and the working life within the process even further, while reducing costs”, explains Prof. Hanke-Rauschenbach. To achieve this, the researchers will develop a toolbox of experimental analytical methods and mathematical models. These can be used to monitor the application of new materials and components in water electrolysis in order to achieve the objectives mentioned above.

The second innovation laboratory led by Leibniz University Hannover focuses on hydrogen combustion. Within the scope of the project, Prof. Dr. Dinkelacker from the Institute of Technical Combustion and his colleagues from partner universities and facilities intend to find out how hydrogen could be used in conventional combustion engines or in a future generation of aircraft engines. In addition to transforming hydrogen into electricity, this is another way to use hydrogen in an eco-friendly manner, for instance in the mobility sector. “Our goal is to use climate-neutral fuels in motors and engines”, says Prof. Dinkelacker. During the combustion process, there are no greenhouse gas emissions and very little pollutants. “The process only produces a small amount of nitrogen. We intend to reduce these releases even further”, explains the expert. According to Prof. Dinkelacker, close-to production motors could be available in five to eight years. By 2035, aircraft engines are expected to be ready to go into mass production. The aim is to achieve completely sustainable mobility without using oil or other fossil fuels.


Note to editors

For further information, please contact Prof. Dr.-Ing. Richard Hanke-Rauschenbach, Institute of Electric Power Systems (Tel. +49 511 762 14401, Email hanke-rauschenbach@ifes.uni-hannover.de) or Prof. Dr. Friedrich Dinkelacker via email at dinkelacker@itv.uni-hannover.de.