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.


H2GO – National Plan of Action for Fuel Cell Production

In the H2GO project “National Plan of Action for Fuel Cell Production”, 19 Fraunhofer institutes are working together to develop technical solutions for the rapid market ramp-up of fuel cell production. The aim is to establish a sustainable drive option to significantly reduce the CO2 emissions from heavy-duty transport in Germany. In “H2GO”, Fraunhofer ISI carried out a monitoring of innovation data on fuel cell technologies that considers research networks, patent data, market expectations and the build-up of production. 

Scientific support for the further development of instruments for the market ramp-up of hydrogen and its derivatives

The aim of the project is to provide scientific support to the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action in the further development of concrete instruments and a national framework for the market ramp-up of hydrogen. This framework shall create stable investment conditions for hydrogen production and infrastructure, avoid undesirable developments in the market and ensure a cost-efficient and target-oriented use of funding.

Global potentials for production and exxport of green hydrogen (HYPAT)

Germany will continue to rely on energy imports in the long term. Among other things, it will have to import a large share of green hydrogen and its synthesis products from global regions that are rich in wind and solar power. The HyPat project, which is led by Fraunhofer ISI, is developing a comprehensive, global hydrogen atlas, as called for in Germany's National Hydrogen Strategy.

H2 D – A hydrogen economy for Germany

This page is dedicated to the successive development technology roadmap for the development of the hydrogen economy in Germany. Initially, we focus electrolysis as the crucial technology for the generation of green hydrogen. It constitutes a key requisite to complete the energy transition, to establish a sustainable economy, and, thus, achieving climate goals.

H2 Masterplan for Eastern Germany

This project aims to explore to what extent switching existing value chains and establishing new ones with regard to using or producing hydrogen is a promising option for shaping structural change in Germany’s eastern federal states in the short and medium term, with the focus on the development up to 2030.

Long-term scenarios for the transformation of the energy system in Germany

Germany is to become climate-neutral – originally by 2050, but now by 2045. In the research project “Long-term scenarios for the transformation of the energy system in Germany”, Fraunhofer ISI and its project partners examined the techno-economic impacts of three different pathways to decarbonize the energy system: climate-neutral electricity, climate-neutral hydrogen and climate-neutral hydrocarbons.

Intelligent infrastructure for the transformation of the energy system

The Fraunhofer Institutes ISI, IEG, IEE and ISE as well as TNO innovation for Life address the unique challenges of the European energy transition by determining the energy requirement and the energy sources to decarbonise all application sectors. There is a particular focus on the industrial sector and the role of hydrogen, as the uncertainties and the need for research into the decarbonisation of industry are high and the use of hydrogen is currently being discussed as an important long-term strategic measure to meet the requirement for climate neutrality in industry in both countries.

The potential of hydrogen for decarbonising EU industry

The production of renewable hydrogen, i.e. using renewable electricity for producing hydrogen via water electrolysis, is seen as a promising option for decarbonising EU industry, in particular the hard-to-decarbonise energy-intensive sectors. Even more, transforming the EU’s energy system to a hydrogen economy is perceived to provide benefits with respect to job creation, economic growth, innovation and air pollution. However, there are huge economic implications for the current stock of production technologies, the energy system and operational costs. The infrastructure required is another aspect that has not yet been resolved. This study will take stock of the current situation with respect to the realization of the EU Hydrogen Strategy and to identify policy options addressing gaps in the current hydrogen policy landscape.  

Development of a hydrogen roadmap for Baden-Württemberg

Hydrogen is expected to become a central component of the energy system, and hydrogen technologies hold enormous potential for sustainable structural change for Baden-Württemberg. The state has set itself the goal of becoming a global pioneer in hydrogen. The project therefore aims to support the development and establishment of a hydrogen economy in Baden-Württemberg through stakeholder dialogues, a participatory processes and the development of a hydrogen roadmap.