CIRO introduces fuel cells to Coesfeld students

New class on hydrogen at German secondary school

3 students playing with fuel cell toy car
Students playing with fuel cell toy car
©CIRO

From where will we get our electricity in the future? What will we use to power our cars and trains? How can we live sustainably, without the use of fossil fuels? Finding answers to these and other questions is the aim of an Erasmus+ project involving students and teachers at Heriburg-Gymnasium, a German secondary school in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, as well as British, Greek and Spanish partner organizations. The project is led by Ariema Energía y Medioambiente, a spin-off from Spain’s National Institute for Aerospace Technology. British partner Cyber Coach Smart is developing a digital learning game.

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New research center in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania

MW-P´s Governor Mrs Manuela Schwesig
MW-P´s Governor Schwesig, © Schramm/Staatskanzlei MW

Germany‘s northeast is finally buzzing with activity. For a long time, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania’s hydrogen community had rarely made the news. However, that was before the state’s economy ministry announced at the hydrogen sector meeting in Güstrow on Aug. 21 that it plans to build a hydrogen research center. Stefan Rudolph, who works at the economy ministry, said that Mecklenburg-West Pomerania will receive around EUR 50 million for shutting down the coal power station in Rostock because of Germany‘s exit from coal-fired energy production.

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New DLR institutes in northern Germany

The German government’s central research organization for aerospace technology, DLR, continues to expand its operations. It plans to build two new institutes, one to develop maritime energy systems and another to advance systems engineering in the transportation sector. On June 23, DLR’s oversight board gave the green light for both. At that time, the German parliament had already approved the economy ministry’s November 2019 request for EUR 22 million annually to build and run the new research facilities. Another EUR 2 million a year will come from the German states of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein.

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Hydrogen on Wadden Islands

Way of hydrogen in the Wadden sea
© H2Watt

Hydrogen is considered crucial to transforming the energy market, especially in the northern parts of Germany and the Netherlands with their growing number of clean energy systems. On two North Sea islands, INTERREG project H2Watt is now investigating the opportunities that a hydrogen infrastructure can provide before it will put ideas into practice. Where will it be eco-friendly to switch to hydrogen? What is the best way to accomplish this? Representing a microcosm of a supply chain, both islands offer the perfect chance to study the real-world use of hydrogen. In late April, H2Watt was kicked off by a week-long virtual event showing video clips created by the project’s partners.

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Green hydrogen for industry

Industrial scale greend hydrogen and decarbonization

Sandwiched between the North and Baltic seas, Schleswig-Holstein is considered to have great potential for generating clean wind energy. Boasting an installed turbine capacity of around 6.7 gigawatts onshore and 1.8 gigawatts offshore, and a nearly 37 percent renewable energy share in total final consumption (122 percent in gross electricity use), Germany’s northernmost state is well above the national average. Its 2025 aim is to have renewables contribute up to 65 percent to state-wide energy generation. And by 2050, the North Sea and its coastal areas could be home to Europe’s largest clean energy system – ideal prospects for kicking off a real hydrogen economy.

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Clean hydrogen on demand

PowerPaste of the IFAM
PowerPaste, © IFAM

A few years ago, research at Dresden-based Fraunhofer IFAM’s Hydrogen Technologies department led to the development of a paste-like substance that can provide on-demand energy under well-controllable conditions for multiple kinds of fuel cell applications. In partnership with businesses and other research institutes, IFAM has since launched several projects to demonstrate that this substance called PowerPaste, the main ingredient of which is magnesium hydride, is both safe and easy to handle. The institute is also currently building a system to produce multiple tons of PowerPaste a year for use in field tests.

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LOHC – Hydrogen transport made easy

How to use hydrogen, not oil, to power the economy

Fig. 1: Draining LOHCs through two bottles (the differing colors indicate which LOHC is still charged)
© Allgemeine Services KIT, Bramsiepe

To achieve climate neutrality by 2050, Germany will need low-emission – if not zero-emission – solutions for transportation and industry. As part of a Kopernikus initiative called P2X, researchers are developing ways to safely store hydrogen in containers in atmospheric conditions. They use liquid organic hydrogen carriers, also known as LOHCs, which bind hydrogen reversibly and allow the subsequent separation of carrier material and gas through a special dehydrogenation unit. It is the only method for efficiently discharging this liquid storage. At the same time, however, the hydrogen needs to be upgraded to fuel cell quality.

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Hydrogen breakthrough in steelmaking

Reducing global emissions by 7 percent

Fig. 1: Conventional steelmaking process versus HYBRIT
© HYBRIT

A new, revolutionary process developed by the Swedish steel industry could be a viable and competitive way to use hydrogen to displace coal and other fossil fuels in steelmaking. It would lower the carbon footprint of 1 ton of steel from 1.8 tons of CO2 to 25 kilograms.

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