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Hydrogen Research

Hydrogen is an Essential Component of the Energy Transition

Forschungszentrum Jülich’s contribution to the Federal Government’s hydrogen strategy

The energy transition is one of the great challenges to society of our time. Germany and the European Union aim to be climate-neutral by 2050. This should be achieved while ensuring that the population has a reliable energy supply and that industry remains competitive. Hydrogen technologies play a key role in this and must therefore be developed and made commercially available on a large scale.

From the details to the big picture

Why hydrogen is so important for the energy transition quickly becomes clear if you look at the tasks that it is supposed to take on. The intention is for hydrogen to largely replace fossil fuels, be used to store renewable energy, enable mobility, and couple the various energy sectors with each other – doing all this as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.

Expectations are therefore high. Jülich’s research in this field is just as diverse, with its range covering the entire value chain – from the basics through to application and from manufacture to transport and use. Jülich also investigates the issue of the social and economic impact of such a profound upheaval to the energy system. Among its various approaches, there are projects dealing with artificial photosynthesis, converting the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into “green syngas”, and using a liquid carrier for hydrogen. In addition, the entire research campus itself acts as a real-life laboratory for the energy transition as part of a large-scale practical test.

The whole spectrum: H2 research at Jülich



Scientists at Forschungszentrum Jülich work to make established methods of producing hydrogen, such as electrolysis, more cost-effective and sustainable.



In order to be available as an energy carrier at short notice, hydrogen must be securely stored and reliably transported. This can be done in underground stores, in the existing natural gas grid, or using new technologies such as LOHC technology, which was developed by scientists at Forschungszentrum Jülich.


Anwendungsbeispiel rSOC

Fuel cells convert hydrogen into electrical energy and are of interest for many different uses, for example for supplying drive to lorries, ships, and passenger cars, for combined heat and power units, and for supplying electricity to devices that are off the grid. Scientists at Forschungszentrum Jülich are working on improving the efficiency, durability, and performance of fuel cells.

Energiestudie Szenario 95

Systems analysis: the energy system of the future

Decisions made with respect to the energy sector, energy policy, and research funding have long-lasting impacts. Therefore, in order to identify the opportunities and risks posed by new technologies at an early stage, Jülich’s systems analysts model future infrastructures – integrating hydrogen technologies when they do so.

More: Systems analysis: the energy system of the future …

Living Lab Energy Campus

Outlook: strengthening innovative power

Forschungszentrum Jülich hopes to strengthen its role in innovation processes in future, particularly with regard to the structural change in the region. Some examples of this are the iNEW innovation platform and the Living Lab Energy Campus.

More: Outlook: strengthening innovative power …


Prof. Olivier Guillon

Prof. Olivier Guillon

Prof. Olivier Guillon is director at the Materials Synthesis and Processing subinstitute (IEK-1) within the Institute of Energy and Climate Research at Forschungszentrum Jülich. The materials scientist works on topics including the development of solid oxide fuel cells and lectures in materials synthesis for energy technologies at RWTH Aachen University.

Prof. Detlef Stolgen

Prof. Detlef Stolten

Prof. Detlef Stolten is director at the Techno-Economic Systems Analysis subinstitute (IEK-3) within the Institute of Energy and Climate Research at Forschungszentrum Jülich. His work has focused heavily on the transformation of the energy system from a techno-economic standpoint since 2010. There is also a particular focus on sector coupling including the modelling of gas and power grids, the supply of renewable energy, the energy demand for the transportation sector and storage using hydrogen, methane, liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHC) and other options, as well as hydrogen production from renewable energy using electrolysis.

Prof. Christian Linsmeier

Prof. Christian Linsmeier

Prof. Christian Linsmeier is director at the Plasma Physics subinstitute (IEK-4) within the Institute of Energy and Climate Research at Forschungszentrum Jülich. Key aspects of his research is the interaction of hydrogen plasmas with the solids, and the research on processes during the retention, transport and release of hydrogen in materials. He holds a chair for Plasma-Material Interactions and Surface processes in Fusion Devices at the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy of Ruhr-University Bochum.

Prof. Bernhard Unterberg

Prof. Bernhard Unterberg

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Unterberg is deputy director at IEK-4 and coordinating the research activities on plasma-material interactions in linear plasma devices at Forschungszentrum Jülich. Key aspects of his research are hydrogen retention in first wall materials of fusion reactors and its analysis in plasma devices and laboratory experiments by ion beam measurements, laser based surface diagnostics and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. A further research topic is plasma catalysis (CO2 and other gas mixtures) including hydrogen production and catalytic processes at the wall surface of plasma reactors.
He is associate professor for fusion research at Ruhr-Universität Bochum.

Dr. Sebastijan Brezinsek

Dr. Sebastijan Brezinsek

Dr. Brezinsek is project leader in the IEK-4 at the Forschungszentrum Jülich as well as project leader for plasma-wall interactions in the EC-funded EUROfusion consortium. Key aspects of his research are the quantification of the hydrogen content in metals and graphite by laser-based analysis methods utilising desorption and ablation processes. Dr. Brezinsek is lecturer at the Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf (Institut für Laser- und Plasmaphysik). He obtained the IAEA Nuclear Fusion Price in 2016 for his investigations about the hydrogen isotope retention in the European Tokamak JET and its extrapolation to the next step device ITER.

Prof. Rüdiger Eichel

Prof. Rüdiger Eichel

Prof. Rüdiger-A. Eichel heads the Fundamental Electrochemistry subinstitute (IEK-9) within the Institute of Energy and Climate Research and is the founding director of the industrial electrochemical competence centre ELECTRA. At the competence centre, the physicist and his team investigate innovative energy storage systems and energy converters. Their goal is to make batteries, fuel cells, and electrolyzers more efficient, affordable, long-lasting, and safer. Eichel is the coordinator of the Kopernikus Power-to-X project and head of the iNEW structural change project.

Prof. Dr. Peter Wasserscheid

Prof. Peter Wasserscheid

Prof. Peter Wasserscheid is chair of chemical engineering at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg and is director at the Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nürnberg, a branch office of Forschungszentrum Jülich. The recipient of multiple scientific awards, he researches and develops solutions to use renewable energy in a way that is climate-neutral, sustainable, and cost-effective. In line with this, he works on topics such as options for storing and transporting hydrogen in chemical form. The winner of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize received an ERC Advanced Investigator Grant in 2010.

Prof. Ralf Peters

Prof. Ralf Peters

Prof. Ralf Peters is acting director at the Electrochemical Process Engineering subinstitute (IEK-14) at the Institute of Energy and Climate Research. He is a professor at FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences lecturing in energy process engineering and is head of the Fuel Synthesis and Systems Engineering department within IEK-14. His work has focused heavily on process engineering issues relating to the synthesis of future fuels and the supply of hydrogen for fuel cell systems from liquid energy carriers since 1996. There is a particular focus on process analysis and development, heterogeneous catalysis, the development of technical reactors, and systems engineering.

Dr. Marcelo Carmo

Dr. Marcelo Carmo

Prof. Dr. Marcelo Carmo is acting director at the Electrochemical Process Engineering subinstitute (IEK-14) at the Institute of Energy and Climate Research. He is an operating agent for the International Energy Agency, TCP-AFC Electrolysis Annex 20, and head of the Electrochemistry Electrolysis department within IEK-14. IEK-14 studies electrolysis technology at different stages of development and system sizes. This includes research and development in the fields of alkaline electrolysis, PEM electrolysis, and AEM electrolysis. The focus of all these activities is on increasing efficiency, reducing costs, and improving the long-term stability of the novel nanostructures, materials, haze layers, and cell/stack components that are used.

Dr.-Ing. Martin Müller

Dr.-Ing. Martin Müller

Dr.-Ing. Martin Müller has led the Process Engineering Electrolysis department within the Electrochemical Process Engineering subinstitute (IEK-14) and is also head of the “Hydrogen” team within the “Living Lab Energy Campus” (LLEC) for the establishment of hydrogen tests and infrastructure across institutes on the Jülich campus. His research priorities are dedicated to electrochemical energy technology with a focus on water electrolysis. He also has extensive experience in the development of direct methanol fuel cells. Dr. Müller is an active member of the electrolysis working group within the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Dr. Remzi Can Samsun

Dr. Remzi Can Samsun

Dr. Remzi Can Samsun heads the Reactors and Systems group at the Electrochemical Process Engineering subinstitute (IEK-14) within the Institute of Energy and Climate Research. He and his team use simulations and experimental studies to research innovative reactor concepts and efficient system layouts, to produce synthetic fuels from carbon dioxide and green hydrogen, or to generate electricity with low emissions using fuel cell systems. Dr. Samsun is the spokesperson for fuel cell technologies at IEK-14 and is the deputy delegate for Germany on the Executive Committee of the IEA Technology Collaboration Programme (TCP) on Advanced Fuel Cells.