Green hydrogen and its synthesis products are regarded as important components of the energy and climate transition in both the European and in Germany’s hydrogen strategy. This presumes a complete renunciation of fossil fuels. Green hydrogen or the synthesis products produced from it are being discussed as promising applications, especially in sectors with emissions that are hard to avoid, for example, basic chemicals, iron and steel, and international aviation and shipping.
Ambitious climate protection scenarios assume a high demand for hydrogen and synthesis products up to 2050 for Germany and the EU. However, the hydrogen demand in several fields of application is currently the subject of controversial discussions, for example, for medium- and low-temperature process heat in industry, in heavy-duty transport and in heating systems for buildings.
The renewable energy potentials in Germany are probably not able to meet the demand for hydrogen and its synthesis products cost-efficiently in terms of availability, economic efficiency and acceptance. Importing green hydrogen and its synthesis products from preferred RE regions – considering the costs, risks and environmental effects involved – can help to close the gap between hydrogen demand and supply.
In order to ensure the efficient and sustainable use of hydrogen in the long term, it is especially important to integrate the development of a hydrogen economy into the overall governance of the energy system transformation. This can result in diverse opportunities and potentials with regard to value creation and competitiveness, research and innovation, jobs etc.
Fraunhofer ISI explores different aspects of hydrogen in the context of the energy system transformation and has accumulated extensive expertise over the years. The main fields of research include hydrogen production and application, hydrogen imports and infrastructure, regulation and standardization, governance and strategy and analyses of the social acceptance of hydrogen and its sustainability.
Fraunhofer ISI relies on a wide range of methods including detailed modeling of the supply and demand of hydrogen, for example. Other methods include environmental, economic and social sustainability assessments, innovation, policy and technology analyses, acceptance and stakeholder analyses, qualitative and quantitative scenarios, and the development of concrete recommendations for action and roadmaps. Fraunhofer ISI takes a technology-neutral view of the hydrogen economy from different perspectives and calls for a holistic discussion and evaluation of green hydrogen against the background of the energy transition.
Fraunhofer ISI is part of the Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Integrated Energy System CINES, where it coordinates the field of “System analysis”. CINES addresses the central technological and economic challenges of integrating high shares of renewable energies into the energy system and market, and considers hydrogen produced by electrolysis a key component of the transformation. In addition, Fraunhofer ISI networks intensively with related institutes in the energy domain through the Fraunhofer Energy Alliance, and is represented on the advisory board of the Fraunhofer Strategic Research Field Hydrogen Technologies. As part of the Hydrogen Network, which bundles all of Fraunhofer’s expertise in the field of hydrogen, Fraunhofer ISI is a competent partner for industry, politics and science on the topic of hydrogen.