National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Innovation Programme (NIP)
Fossil energy sources are becoming increasingly scarce and expensive. At the same time, excessive levels of CO2 emissions are changing the climate. That is why we need alternatives to oil and gas. Together with the industry, the Federal Government, as part of the high-tech strategy for Germany, is promoting applied research into drivetrain systems and stationary energy systems using hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.
The NOW - spearheading the innovation programme
Germany is the leading European country in the field of hydrogen and fuel cell technology. It is imperative that we continue to assert and develop this international competitiveness. For this reason, the National Organization for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW) was established in February 2008. It is designed to be the driving force in the development and commercialization of internationally competitive hydrogen and fuel cell technology products and to assume control of the overall programme. The Federal Government and the industry will provide a total of 1 billion euros for research, development and demonstration projects over the next 10 years.
The NOW is a component of the National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Innovation Programme (NIP), launched jointly by the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. The programme is part of the high-tech strategy for Germany and ties in with the Federal Government's Fuel Strategy.
The National Innovation Programme provides a common framework for numerous hydrogen and fuel cell research projects conducted by academic institutions and the industry. The public-private partnership (PPP) is scheduled to run for 10 years. Over this period, the Federal Government will provide 500 million euros, with the industry contributing at least the same amount to the project.
Wanted: alternatives to fossil fuels
The reserves of petroleum and natural gas are limited, and when these fuels are burnt they emit climate-damaging carbon dioxide. For this reason, it is imperative that we seek innovative and viable alternatives if we want to remain mobile in the future. One option is hydrogen, used as a source of energy. Hydrogen can be stored and transported in either liquid or gaseous form - and its energy can be released in a controlled manner. The release of this energy does not produce any pollutants or climate change emissions. All it produces is water vapour. If, in addition, the energy to be stored is generated with the help of renewable sources of energy, then hydrogen becomes a "clean" energy solution.
Hydrogen makes it possible to store generated energy very efficiently and then to use it in an environmentally friendly manner far away from the power plant. These features make hydrogen especially interesting to the mobility sector. Because here, perhaps more than anywhere else, we rely on transportable sources of energy. At the same time, there are still many issues to be resolved and technological challenges to be met in this field. This is where the NIP is to provide assistance.
From research to commercialization
The objective is to develop viable market products from hydrogen and fuel cell technology research and development projects. The process of development should involve as many industrial companies, small and medium-sized enterprises, users and research institutions as possible. Illustrative demonstration projects are to prove that hydrogen and fuel cell projects that are now ready for deployment are suitable for everyday use. The research funds are thus not only an investment in a clean environment but also help to create sustainable jobs in Germany.
The strategy - concentration followed by link-ups
Initially, the activities are to be focused in selected clusters. They will then be gradually extended and interlinked, both nationally and internationally. The common use of infrastructure and an exchange of experience will help us to exploit synergies and prevent an ineffective fragmentation of funding.
In addition to the Federal Government and the industry, the federal states are also heavily involved in the National Innovation Programme. The involvement of the federal states and the regions will make a major contribution to concrete development projects. There are already numerous concrete regional projects. At the same time, the NIP is closely tied in with European activities in the field of hydrogen and fuel cells.
Find more information about the "Federal Government Fuel Strategy".
- The High-Tech Strategy for Germany
- The National Coordination Office Juelich for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells (NKJ)
Interface of national, European and international hydrogen and fuel cell activities.
- Hysolutions Hamburg
- Clean Energy Partnership Berlin(CEP)
- Hydrogen technology initiative Mecklenburg-Vorpommern e.V.
- Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Network NRW