Hydrogen Economy: PEM Sums Up Requirements


The chair "Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components" (PEM) of RWTH Aachen University has compiled the results of its "BrennWert H2" project. In four workshops reaching from September 2020 to April 2021, the initiative examined the "Value Creation of Fuel Cells and Hydrogen for the Rhenish Mining District". The study primarily addressed small and medium-sized companies in the region. The project also resulted in a cooperation with "NRW.BANK" in the area of "Zukunftsschmiede Energie", which is intended to carry the findings of the PEM into industry.

  Shifting from a CO2-intensive to a clean economy Copyright: © PEM RWTH Aachen

"Greatest obstacles for companies to participating in the value creation of fuel cells are a lack of know-how as well as high investments, a network that does not yet exist and an uncertain market development," says Professor Achim Kampker, head of PEM. At the same time, the majority of the companies involved in the project consider hydrogen and fuel cells to be "very suitable" for their region due to their proximity to universities and "hidden champions" as well as to players from the energy sector with above-average representation.

Demand for increased investment security

The majority of the 74 participating companies had already discussed or even designed products in the field of fuel cells and electrolysis internally, but had sold few of them so far. To get the technology and a corresponding industrial market off the ground, participants are calling for increased investment security through a political roadmap, lower electricity costs for hydrogen processors, progressively rising CO2 prices, investment subsidies from the federal government and the EU, and a broad development of technology understanding.

The project „BrennWert H2“ addressed hydrogen production and infrastructure as well as fuel cells in the energy and transportation sectors. Partners included the Zukunftsagentur Rheinisches Revier, the Mittlerer Niederrhein Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the Düren and Kerpen business development agencies, and the NRW Renewable Energies Association.