Research and Development
Flagship projects of BMBF
H2Mare is one of three flagship projects being conducted by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), which is supporting Germany’s entry into the hydrogen economy with its largest initiative regarding the energy transition to date. The three hydrogen flagship projects H2Giga, H2Mare, and TransHyDE are the result of an ideas competition and represent a central contribution on the part of the BMBF to the implementation of the National Hydrogen Strategy.
They are intended to remove existing hurdles impeding Germany’s entry into a hydrogen economy over the next four years. The goals of the projects are
- the serial production of large-scale water electrolyzers – H2Giga
- the production of hydrogen and downstream products at sea – H2Mare, and
- the development of technologies for the transport of hydrogen – TransHyDE.
More than 240 partners from science and industry are working together on the three hydrogen flagship projects, which were launched on the basis of non-binding funding promises in the spring. In total, the funding will amount up to € 740 million.
We are actively participating in the flagship projects H2Mare and TransHyDE.
Wind turbines with integrated electrolyzer demonstrate sustainable hydrogen production at sea
The offshore wind turbines of the future are set to produce molecules instead of electrons. Self-sufficient units comprising a wind turbine and an integrated electrolyzer produce green hydrogen on an industrial scale and save the costs of connection to the grid. In this way, they can make a significant contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. In a second phase, the green hydrogen can be converted into further synthetic fuels and energy carriers. This vision is now intended to become a reality in the scope of the H2Mare flagship project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
The H2Mare flagship project aims to establish a whole new type of turbine at sea in the future – a solution which integrates an electrolyzer into an offshore wind turbine optimally for direct conversion of the electricity. In addition, the project will also investigate further offshore power-to-X processes.
This will involve consideration of the entire value creation chain: from wind energy generation and hydrogen production to the conversion of hydrogen into methane, liquid hydrocarbons, methanol, or ammonia right up to use in industry or the energy sector. As such, various industrial downstream uses and storage options are possible. The goal is a significant cost advantage in the production of large volumes of hydrogen.
Within four years, H2Mare – comprising four joint projects with a total of 35 partners – aims to lay the foundations for technology leadership and support the achievement of climate targets by reducing greenhouse gas emissions more rapidly.
“Together with our partners, we want to establish the production of green hydrogen offshore with H2Mare,” said Christian Bruch, Chief Executive Officer of Siemens Energy AG. “We are bringing in our offshore wind and electrification capabilities as well as our expertise in electrolysis. H2Mare unites the strengths of research and industry – for sustainable decarbonization of the economy and to the benefit of the environment. We need the support of politics to drive forward innovative solutions for a green hydrogen economy, which is why the funding by the BMBF is an excellent and important step.”
Siemens Energy is responsible for the coordination of H2Mare and is supported by institutes of the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft.
Salzgitter Mannesmann Forschung is working on the technical basis for suitable tubular storage systems made of steel tubes. The effect of hydrogen on steel tube performance is largely unresolved, particularly for high internal pressures. Tube accumulators are also subject to high fluctuations in gas pressure due to frequent discharge cycles combined with high maximum pressures. This alternating stress produces a fatigue effect on the material and its connections. The investigations are carried out on a theoretical and experimental basis, both in the laboratory and on a 1:1 scale demonstrator tube accumulator.
Transporting hydrogen safely and reliably
Our contribution: design and requirements for hydrogen lines, establishment of suitable (fracture mechanics) testing facilities, material and component investigations.
Metallic hydrogen high pressure storage system for mobile fuel cell systems 2025+
Development of high-pressure hydrogen storage systems made of high-strength precision steel tubes for fuel cell vehicles in cooperation with Robert Bosch GmbH.
Sub-project Salzgitter Mannesmann Forschung GmbH: Optimization of the production of precision steel tubes for use as mobile high-pressure hydrogen storage systems on behalf of Mannesmann Precision Tubes GmbH.
The main challenge for the application of hydrogen fuel cell technology in passenger cars is the difficult integration of the current tank concept into the vehicle architecture. The CFRP tanks available on the market today for the gaseous storage of hydrogen at 700 bar are expensive, large-volume and bulky. These type IV tanks can only be integrated into future BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) platforms with great difficulty and at high additional cost.
The innovative approach pursued in the HySteelStore project of a modular tank system based on individual storage bodies made of seamless steel tubes is suitable for installation in future chassis with battery modules in the underbody. The steel-based approach offers a cost reduction potential in tank container production of up to 30 % compared to carbon fibre-based tanks, as well as other decisive advantages. For example, the CO2 input of the steel tank is significantly lower over its service life than that of the CFRP tank. This is made possible by the high recycling rate of over 80 % and a complete recycling economy for the raw materials used in the steel tank. Furthermore, it is possible to omit the costly pre-cooling of the hydrogen at the filling station. This simplifies the infrastructure and significantly reduces hydrogen costs due to improved energy efficiency. The higher weight of the steel tank system does not contradict the direct integration into a BEV chassis, as the vehicle is designed for the battery weight, which is roughly equivalent to the weight of the fuel cell system plus steel tank.
The aim of the project is to build a minimum viable product that fulfils all the essential functions of a tank system and whose reliability and safety have been proven in accordance with the requirements of the ECE R134 regulations. Starting with high-quality precision steel tubes made of low-alloy steel, high-strength storage cylinders are manufactured in several process steps. These storage cylinders, together with valves, sensors and control units, are used to build a modular tank system. The possibility of refuelling and metered withdrawal of hydrogen from the tank system during operation will be demonstrated by appropriate test series on the test stands. Since the project builds on a good technological starting point of the project partners involved, a TRL 6 is targeted in this project.
The Salzgitter Mannesmann Forschung sub-project is being funded by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport within the framework of the National Innovation Programme Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP) with a total of 170,083 euros. The funding directive is coordinated by NOW GmbH and implemented by Project Management Jülich (PtJ).
Hydrogen barrier for steel tanks
The project is being funded as part of the Hydrogen Campus Salzgitter with structural funds from the state for the city of Salzgitter.
The research objective of the project is the development of a hydrogen barrier for tanks made from ultra-high-strength steel tubes. The utilization of these materials enables a reduction in the wall thickness and consequently offers the potential to reduce weight, costs and CO2 emissions.
Project partner: Fraunhofer IST
Our contribution: Construction and establishment of a test device for measuring hydrogen permeation from the gas phase in steel to evaluate the barrier effect under conditions close to the application.
New hydrogen lab
Our new hydrogen laboratory will have a servo-hydraulic universal tensile testing machine with a temperature-controlled 15-liter pressure vessel for the instrumented testing of materials under hydrogen gas up to 400 bar under cyclic load and with measured value recording on the specimen.