Focus topic hydrogen: Achieving climate goals with reliable operation

© Fraunhofer IWES
Fraunhofer IWES is helping the industry to establish a sustainable hydrogen economy.

The production of green hydrogen for the decarbonization and defossilization of industrial processes will make a decisive contribution to the achievement of the climate goals. The reliable operation of electrolyzers and systems all along the H2 value chain is key to minimizing the risks of upscaling hydrogen production.

The rapid ramp-up and the associated immense increase in demand for electrolysis capacity pose challenges not only for manufacturers but also for future operators, as not only production processes, but also measurement and monitoring procedures are not easy to scale up from the factory to industrial dimensions.

Three hydrogen labs with different focuses

Embedding in the energy system and in industrial processes also poses challenges in terms of deployment behavior and operating models. This is why Fraunhofer IWES operates three hydrogen labs for the testing and validation of hydrogen-relevant components along the value chain: from production via electrolysis to storage and use in PtX processes or fuel cells  – with a total connected power of more than 25 MW. In doing so, Fraunhofer IWES is helping the industry to establish a sustainable hydrogen economy. The hydrogen labs have different focuses:

  • At the Hydrogen Lab Leuna, the integration in a chemical hub allows testing of the defossilization of processes in the chemical industry under practical conditions.
  • The coupling of hydrogen production and wind energy generation as well as the grid compatibility of electrolyzers is being investigated in Bremerhaven. This makes it possible to ensure the security of supply even with a high proportion of renewable energies in the grid.
  • The focus at the Hydrogen Lab Görlitz is on the decarbonization of the manufacturing industry. Prototypes of every step of the power-to-X-to-power value chain can be tested and supplemented with conclusions about corresponding production processes thanks to the collaboration with Fraunhofer IWU.

Testing offers of different scales and loads

The offer ranges from stack testing in the 45 kW range up to multi-megawatt testing capacity for operation under real conditions. Dynamic loads are simulated, as are environmental conditions and mechanical loads. Digital simulations accompany the process, describe procedures, and serve to optimize techno-economic key figures. Analyses are carried out across the board in order to develop methods and test procedures for electrolyzer materials and components and to apply them on a laboratory scale. The services offered include real-time monitoring of H2 and O2 purity, GC-MS trace analysis of material flows, electrochemical evaluation of components, and fault diagnostics.

IWES can draw on many years of expertise in standardization issues in the wind industry. The partnerships with and expertise of pioneering institutions and companies enable IWES to develop standardized test procedures for hydrogen technologies.

Current research projects on the focus topic of »Hydrogen«