The world’s two largest research organisations for renewable energy, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) in Germany and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to begin closer collaboration on research into hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. The announcement was made on Monday, October 10th at the “f-cell / World of Energy Solutions” conference in Stuttgart.
The MoU means that hydrogen and fuel cell technology experts from Germany and the United States will collaborate closely to accelerate progress in research and development (R&D) in these fields. The Fraunhofer ISE considers hydrogen and fuel cell technology an integral component of the German “Energiewende”–the transformation of the energy system towards renewable energies resulting in a reduction of CO2 emissions by 80 to 95% of 1990 levels by 2050.
In combination with electricity from renewable energy sources–such as wind and solar–hydrogen can be produced by water electrolysis and used as fuel in a diverse range of applications, such as fuel cell cars and buses, and producing no harmful emissions.
In addition, hydrogen can also be used as a feedstock for catalytic conversion with CO2. The result is liquid synthetic fuels and which could replace diesel or gasoline.
It is this latter research in which the Fraunhofer ISE’s has a fundamental research focus, i.e. in hydrogen technologies in relation to the production, conversion and catalytic processing of hydrogen, as well as models to investigate the role of hydrogen in a future energy system.
The NREL, on the other hand, has long-term research and development activities supported by the Dept. of Energy’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office, including research on advanced electrolysis, hydrogen fuelling infrastructure, and analysis of grid-scale hydrogen system performance.
The main objective of the collaboration is to accelerate progress toward shared R&D goals and ensure sustainable use of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.
Photo credit: http://www.colourbox.com. Material used in the preparation of this article has been drawn from The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).