Hannover. In Kooperation mit seinen Mitgliedsuniversitäten Leibniz Universität Hannover und Technische Universität Clausthal war das Energie-Forschungszentrum Niedersachsen (EFZN) am 28. und 29. März 2019 Gastgeber des Frühjahrs-Workshops der IEA-ANNEX-Group 30 "Water Electrolysis" in Hannover. Bei dieser Gelegenheit sprach Dr. Knut Kappenberg, EFZN-Referent für internationale Kooperationen, mit dem Koordinator der ANNEX-Group 30, Dr. Marcelo Carmo, Abteilungsleiter Elektrochemie Elektrolyse, Forschungszentrum Jülich, über die Bedeutung von Wasserstoff im zukünftigen Energiesystem und die Rolle der IEA-ANNEX-Group 30.
Dr. Knut Kappenberg: Mr. Carmo, in your opinion, how do you assess the role of hydrogen in the transformation of the energy system nationally in Germany and internationally as a whole?
Dr. Marcelo Carmo: We know that we will have more and more renewables not only in Germany but also in Europe and worldwide. Today and in the future, there will be more electricity that is produced from wind. There will be more electricity that is produced from solar. Everybody is looking for a place where we can produce electricity from renewable energy sources. We need wind, we need solar, we need technologies that are able to provide what we need which is electricity but also that is not going to harm us as a society. So, what we have to do now is to find a way to store that electricity.
Well, there is quite a couple of ways to do that. You can use for example batteries, you can use hydropower energy plants, where water can be stored and used later to produce electricity again via conventional turbines. However, we believe that the society in Germany is going towards renewable energy in a way that we have 80 % of our matrix running on wind and solar. This only works with a good storage option. From our point of view the only way to do that is via hydrogen. We can store hydrogen in many different ways, and we can also use hydrogen in many different ways, for the industry, for chemical industry, for our houses, for our car using fuel cells and many applications.
We see hydrogen as the only way to store large amounts of electricity coming from renewables. That we surely need if we´re going to go with a matrix, an energy matrix, you know, where our society is fully renewable, the only way to store that energy is using hydrogen. Now, if we are going to use hydrogen, how do you produce it? So we need to find the best electrolysis technology to produce the hydrogen and there are a few number of options for electrolysis that we can use to produce the hydrogen. And then there is the question what is the best one in terms of efficiency, in terms of cost, in terms of sustainability so that we can produce hydrogen in a very efficient way and also cost effective as well.
Dr. Knut Kappenberg: The focus of the IEA ANNEX 30 Group is water electrolysis for the generation of hydrogen. What role does water electrolysis play and what research and development potential does it have in your view?
Dr. Marcelo Carmo: The electrolysis plays an important role in this Annex 30 Group being the key technology to produce the hydrogen that we use for electricity storage. The problem now is, that technology for electrolysis that we have today is still not developed to a level which we can use for energy storage applications; the technology still has a rudimentary character from an R&D point of view. So we don´t have the efficiency and cost that we need. Now if you go to the other type, which is PEM electrolysis, it´s a spaceship/life-support-based technology, which means that it´s very expensive.
So, the challenge now is that we have to "re-develop" the technology, so it can be applied for renewable energy storage and it still has to be durable. It has to run for one hundred thousand hours at least, because it´s going to be a seasonal application and that is our challenge. We have to again further develop the technology to make it more efficient and less costly and sustainable at the same time. Of course there is a lot of research that is going to be done or that is required to achieve that goal.
Dr. Knut Kappenberg: What is the role of the ANNEX 30 Group? What are you working on at your meeting in Hannover?
Dr. Marcelo Carmo: If you consider the German goal for greenhouse gas emissions we have to reach 80 % reduction by 2050 compared to 1990. This means that we only have about 30 years to achieve that. But it´s not only research. You have to develop the technology and you have to put it in the market. So if you count at least 10 years for market penetration, and another 10 for market validation you only have about 10 years left for research. So there is no way you can achieve the next generation for electrolysers with only 10 years of research. So the only way to achieve that is through collaboration. That’s the main goal for the Annex 30 Group: To put the experts together, so you´re talking the same language and so that we can quickly develop the technology in only 10-20 years. What I´m trying to say is, that somehow we need to go a lot faster, because 10 years is not much and the only way to achieve this is through international collaboration. That´s the only way to go.
Dr. Knut Kappenberg
EFZN-Referent für internationale Kooperationen
EFZN-Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit