Hydrogen – Its role in the energy sector in the development of a German hydrogen economy


German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK)


Technische Universität Dresden, Faculty of Business and Economics, Chair of Energy Economics


September 2021 until August 2024

The national hydrogen strategy stresses the role of hydrogen in the energy system decarbonization. Various studies show that the production of green hydrogen in Germany will only be economical with high shares of electricity from renewable energy resources or very high CO2 prices. However, from the viewpoint of the energy system, the production of hydrogen can be beneficial to support power grid balancing and to make use of existing gas infrastructure. The necessary development and conversion of the infrastructure should therefore already be researched and considered today.

Guiding questions of the research project are:

  • What are transformation pathways for the natural gas infrastructure in Germany under emerging supply and demand of CO2-neutral hydrogen?
  • What is a cost-optimal gas mix (natural gas and hydrogen) to satisfy demand?
  • How can the economic interactions and complexities of developing a hydrogen infrastructure be assessed (e.g., using model coupling and scenario reduction methods)?
  • What are regulatory barriers to the development of a hydrogen economy and how can an economically efficient market penetration be stimulated?
  • What does the development mean for a hydrogen market and which competitions (e.g., natural gas vs. H2, green vs. blue H2, production vs. import) arise?

Project objectives

By taking a holistic view, the project provides insights into the economic relevance of hydrogen in the electricity and gas system in the decarbonization of the energy supply and shows how an efficient transformation towards a hydrogen economy can be realized.

Another goal is to discuss and present the research approaches and results with stakeholders from the energy industry in several workshops.

EWI’s role in H2-Ready

  • Analysis of domestic hydrogen production potentials, taking into account the power grid, in order to determine optimal production regions as well as economic potentials for electrolysis
  • Development of a hydrogen infrastructure model that considers hydrogen imports and natural gas transport infrastructure as well as an emerging European hydrogen market
  • Coupling of electricity and hydrogen infrastructure models to analyze interactions of the electricity and gas systems
  • Identification of regulatory framework conditions that influence the market penetration of hydrogen