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Several millions of funding for innovation laboratories focusing on hydrogen technology

Several millions of funding for innovation laboratories focusing on hydrogen technology

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“Green hydrogen”: Ministry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony provides funding for two research collaborations led by LUH / five projects based in Lower Saxony have acquired funding

Great cause for celebration at Leibniz University Hannover: Two research projects on hydrogen technology have acquired funding within the scope of the programme "Innovationslabore für Wasserstofftechnologien" (innovation laboratories for hydrogen technologies). During the implementation phase, each project will receive approximately 1.2 million euros of funding provided over a period of three years.

From May 2021, the Ministry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony (MWK) will provide funding for all of the five research collaborations on hydrogen technologies that submitted proposals for their projects within the scope of the ministry''s programme last year. The innovation laboratories aim to strengthen existing networks and collaborations under the roof of the Energy Research Centre of Lower Saxony (EFZN) and "Wissenschaftsallianz Wasserstofftechnologie" (scientific alliance on hydrogen technology).

"The time is ripe for carbon-neutral hydrogen and the required technologies. These technologies have enormous potential. The innovative proposals submitted in the context of the programme enable us to invest in our future. With these projects, Lower Saxony plays a pioneering role in the implementation of these trendsetting technologies via application-oriented approaches. It is crucial that the projects are conducted in close collaboration with industry partners. This will accelerate the innovation process while promoting a quick transfer of research findings into the industry and society", says Björn Thümler, Minister for Science and Culture in Lower Saxony.

Prof. Dr. Volker Epping, President of Leibniz University Hannover, and the project managers are delighted about this opportunity to advance the ambitious projects in the field of hydrogen research at LUH. The two innovation laboratories led by LUH 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. This way, hydrogen has great potential as a future source of energy.

The project "Innovationslabor Wasserelektrolyse: Vom Material zum System (InnoEly)" 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. 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.

For this purpose, the researchers develop a novel catalytic converter component able to generate hydrogen from electricity in a very efficient manner. By means of a fuel cell, it will be reconverted into electricity. In simple terms, 100 Watts of electricity currently generate about 20 Watts of hydrogen. The researchers intend to increase this degree of effectiveness to 75 percent. "Our work will contribute to making the process more compact, more durable and less expensive", says Prof. Hanke-Rauschenbach. In addition to LUH, project partners include TU Braunschweig, Clausthal University of Technology, Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, the DLR Institute of Networked Energy Systems, the Institute for Solar Energy Research in Hamelin (ISFH), as well as the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI).

"Innovationslabor Nachhaltige Wasserstoff-Verbrennungskonzepte", the second project led by Leibniz University Hannover, focuses on sustainable hydrogen combustion concepts. Among other things, 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 clean combustion 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", 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 oxide. Ultimately, we intend to prevent these releases entirely", explains the expert.

According to Prof. Dinkelacker, close-to-production motors could be available in three to five years. The aim is to achieve completely sustainable mobility without fossil fuels. Another sub-project focuses on using stored hydrogen in reserve power plants within 15 seconds in order to compensate for short-term current fluctuations. In light of a sustainable power supply based on wind and solar energy, this will be more and more important. In addition to LUH, project partners include TU Braunschweig, Clausthal University of Technology, Jade University of Applied Sciences and Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB).

Moreover, LUH is involved as a partner in another collaborative project. The innovation laboratory "H2 Guide Lower Saxony" led by the Clausthal Institute of Environmental Technologies (CUTEC) uses a transdisciplinary approach to investigate how future hydrogen-based energy storage and conversion systems can be designed in Lower Saxony. Moreover, the researchers will determine beneficial technical variants as well as the influence of legal, ecological and economic aspects. In addition to CUTEC and LUH, Clausthal University of Technology and the Institute for Solar Energy Research in Hamelin (ISFH) are involved in the project.

Additional collaborative projects in receipt of funding

- Hydrogen Region of North-Western Lower Saxony (H₂-ReNoWe): DLR Institute of Networked Energy Systems e.V., Clausthal University of Technology, DLR Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics

- Thermal Management of Hydrogen Stations (THEWA): TU Braunschweig


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) and Prof. Dr. Friedrich Dinkelacker (Email dinkelacker@itv.uni-hannover.de).

In addition, please do not hesitate to contact Mechtild Freiin v. Münchhausen, head of Communications and Marketing and spokesperson of Leibniz University Hannover (Tel. +49 177 3734026, Email kommunikation@uni-hannover.de) and Anna Heinichen, EFZN public relations representative (Email anna.heinichen@efzn.de).