Molecules for the energy transition

For a cost-efficient energy transition, other energy sources are needed in addition to green electricity – this is becoming increasingly clear. One of them is hydrogen. It can be produced in a climate-friendly way using low-carbon processes (e.g., water electrolysis with renewably generated electricity). In addition, hydrogen can be stored cost-effectively, even over longer periods of time.

Hydrogen can be used in various ways in the end-use sectors of heat, transport, and industry and can contribute to sector coupling. For example, processes in the chemical or steel industry with emissions that are difficult to avoid can be transformed into climate-neutral with hydrogen. At the same time, the market ramp-up is a challenge: Numerous questions regarding the cost-efficient origin, transport, and use are still open.

The EWI researches both specific and cross-sectoral aspects of the market ramp-up of hydrogen.

  • Economic and regulatory framework conditions
  • The individual economic evaluation of hydrogen projects (e.g., electrolyzers)
  • Economic interdependencies during the market ramp-up
  • Regulation of hydrogen networks
  • Production costs in different European regions
  • Global value chains

Profitability of Hydrogen Projects

The market ramp-up of hydrogen requires innovative and pioneering projects that test an early application of the technology in the market environment and thereby lay the foundations for long-term penetration in the energy system. The EWI supports various companies in the economic asset assessment of projects and components (e.g., electrolyzers).

The model-based analyses make it possible to simulate the projects’ deployment, taking into account market and technical constraints. They also allow for statements on the project’s economic viability (and, if applicable, funding requirements) under various market developments in the energy system.

Efficiently Shaping the Market Ramp-up

At present, there is still comparatively little investment in hydrogen technologies along the entire value chain. This could be due to market failures or high barriers to market entry. The EWI is researching the economic interrelationships in the market ramp-up of hydrogen to derive implications for potential subsidies or the reduction of market barriers.

Simultaneously, the EWI is researching the development of a hydrogen market and how a hydrogen economy can be established in Germany. The institute is also investigating the development of the global hydrogen value chain. This aspect is particularly relevant for Germany, as the country is dependent on hydrogen imports in the long term.

International Cooperation

Hydrogen is an energy carrier that is traded and studied globally. The EWI also cooperates with other renowned international research institutions such as the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OIES) or University College London (UCL) in the United Kingdom on this topic.