There is great interest in hydrogen and its derived products in politics and business. The gradual phase-out of fossil fuels is a central economic, social and political challenge for the upcoming years.
Hydrogen as an energy carrier offers a wide range of possible applications. It is particularly needed in areas where electrification is not economically efficient or technically feasible. Hydrogen can be used as a raw material in the process industry, as a combustible for industrial process heat, space heat or electricity generation, or as a fuel for the mobility sector.
In addition to direct use, hydrogen can also be a feedstock for synthetic downstream products such as ammonia, methane, methanol, or kerosene. Compared to hydrogen, hydrogen downstream products have more favourable transport properties, which, however, include the trade-off of lower overall efficiencies and higher production costs.
As the hydrogen market ramps up, a simultaneous build-up of demand, supply and infrastructure needs to be coordinated. There are still various uncertainties in all three areas. This situation can be described as a “three-sided chicken-or-egg problem”: Without supply there is no demand, without demand there is no supply and without transport infrastructure trade is not possible.
Within the framework of the Hydrogen Research Programme, the EWI is addressing key questions, relying on a systematic and integrative approach as well as state-of-the-art scientific methods.
The aim of the hydrogen research programme is to conduct public interest oriented and applied research at the highest level of economic science. The EWI publishes in both basic and applied research areas with the aim of contributing to a better understanding of challenges and opportunities around hydrogen as well as providing a foundation for political and societal debates.
Within the framework of the hydrogen research programme, the role of gaseous energy carriers, especially hydrogen, and their infrastructure in the energy transition is being investigated. Hydrogen is considered to be of major importance for an economically efficient implementation of the climate goals. The project is divided into three areas:
Depending on the research question, various energy economic analyses are carried out and different EWI-own models are used and further developed, for example the European gas infrastructure model TIGER, the global gas market model COLUMBUS or the European energy system model DIMENSION.
Within the framework of the Hydrogen Research Programme, there is both basic and applied research. The Hydrogen Research Programme is funded by the “Hydrogen Promotion Initiative” of the Gesellschaft zur Förderung des Energiewirtschaftlichen Instituts an der Universität zu Köln e. V. (Society for the Promotion of the Institute of Energy Economics at the University of Cologne) with about 170,000 euros per year. Of this, 50 % is used for basic research in the field of hydrogen and 50 % for specific analyses on behalf of the Hydrogen Promotion Initiative. The companies involved in the “Hydrogen Promotion Initiative” are listed on the website of the Gesellschaft zur Förderung des Energiewirtschaftlichen Instituts an der Universität zu Köln e. V. (Society for the Promotion of the Institute of Energy Economics at the University of Cologne).