A further €300m ($329m) will be pumped into green hydrogen research by the German government, it was announced on Wednesday, taking the total pledged to €780m, as the country aims to become the world number-one in the technology.
“Green hydrogen is the energy carrier of the future and a key foundation needed for us to meet our climate goals,” said Anja Karliczek, minster of education and research, announcing that the €180m previously allocated will be increased to €480m.
This adds to the €300m pledged for hydrogen research in July by the ministry for economic affairs and energy, headed by Peter Altmaier.
“By the end of this year, the government will decide on a hydrogen strategy with which we will create the conditions enabling businesses to further develop its industrial potential,” Altmaier said on Wednesday.
Green hydrogen is a zero-carbon fuel produced by splitting water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen inside a machine called an electrolyser. This clean hydrogen can be used for energy storage or as a fuel for heating, transport and industrial processes.
Due to its versatility, and the fact that it produces no greenhouse gases when burned or converted to electricity inside a fuel cell, it is widely seen as a necessary energy vector to achieve a zero-carbon society.
Germany hosts the world's first hydrogen-powered trains and one of the world's first wind-to-hydrogen projects, as well as leaders in high-temperature electrolysis, Sunfire, which has recently signed a deal to supply French oil giant Total with a megawatt-scale electrolyser, and two of the leading players in liquid organic hydrogen carrier (LOHC) technology, Hydrogenious and EDF-owned Framatome. (LOHC is a category of non-toxic oil-like liquids that can absorb hydrogen and release it when required, making the H2 molecule easier and cheaper to transport than in its compressed or liquefied states.)
“Hydrogen technologies offer enormous potential for the Energiewende, climate protection and new jobs,” said Esther Frey, director of energy, construction and environmental technologies at Germany Trade & Invest. “This initiative shows how serious Germany is about supporting this technology. It should provide a major boost to this sector.”