Laboratory at Westphalian University gets €42M for hydrogen research

The Westphalian University of Applied Sciences will establish the “H2 Solution Lab” as a futuristic hydrogen laboratory for hydrogen research with funding totaling about 42 million euros at its meeting on February 23rd, which is when the Structural Strengthening Council recommended funding for the first project in Gelsenkirchen.

The federal government has pledged 662 million euros in 2019 as part of the “5-StandorteProgramm” for the municipalities in the Ruhr region that will be most negatively impacted by the phase-out of coal for projects to foster innovation and create new jobs.

The state and federal governments will now make the final determination regarding the finance committee for the hydrogen project after it has been approved by the Structural Strengthening Council. Planning will take up about 1.4 million euros of the about 42 million euros in funding, while the laboratory will cost about 40.7 million euros to build.

“In addition to being the first investment project from Gelsenkirchen, one of the biggest projects in the 5-location program to date has been launched with the favorable vote of the Structural Strengthening Council at the beginning of the planning phase. The H2 Solution Lab is a key piece of Gelsenkirchen’s hydrogen infrastructure and will have a lasting positive impact on the local economy by creating high-quality jobs “Karin Welge, the Lord Mayor of Gelsenkirchen is persuaded.

“I’m thrilled that such a significant project is finally receiving the support it deserves. The Westphalian University of Applied Sciences put in a lot of preparation work for this, and strong local partners helped “Simon Nowack, the director of the department of economic development, praises the undertaking.

Without the usage of hydrogen, the anticipated reduction in CO2 in the economy will not be possible. In light of this, initiatives to advance the technological foundation for the creation and use of green hydrogen will be stepped up. Although there are now many lighthouse projects in the large-scale industrial sector, there are still a lot of unmet needs, particularly in the areas of decentralized generation and general use.

An “H2 Solution Lab” will be established at the Westphalian University of Applied Sciences to facilitate a quicker market ramp-up. In this project, technology for hydrogen systems and hydrogen power plants will be developed, tested, and the necessary know-how will be made available for the majority of today’s pertinent applications and for outputs up to around 1 MW.

According to University President Prof. Dr. Bernd Kriegesmann, infrastructure is being built here with an application-oriented focus in order to develop solutions for the transition to the hydrogen economy in collaboration with the city of Gelsenkirchen and with many actors in the region. This will help to secure existing added value and jobs as well as create new ones.

The “H2 Solution Lab” idea calls for a brand-new, 2,000 m2 laboratory building with the necessary development, demonstration, and transfer structures. The laboratory’s structure should make it possible to produce research findings and transfer them in a very flexible way to components, subsystems, or entire systems.

The spectrum includes compressors, storage systems, fuel cell and burner systems, valves, electrolyzer systems, fuel cell, and burner systems, and full systems for producing or utilizing hydrogen.

There is a huge demand for hydrogen system technology with medium power, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses. But, in terms of hydrogen research, this has thus far taken a back seat. The “H1 Solution Lab” can process hydrogen systems and their components up to an output of approximately 2 MW to satisfy this need.

A modular laboratory infrastructure is also available to support development, demonstration, and transfer efforts for many application scenarios, such as burner technology for the generation of process heat or refueling technology. The “H2 Solution Lab’s” focus on content draws from the knowledge gained through more than 20 years of hydrogen research at the Westphalian University of Applied Sciences.

The “5-Location Programme,” supported by the federal government and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, aims to support structural projects that are environmentally friendly in the five municipalities and districts that would be most negatively impacted by the phase-out of coal. These five locations are Gelsenkirchen, Duisburg, Hamm, Herne, and the Unna neighborhood.

Every project application submitted to the program must pass a multi-stage qualification process. Representatives from line ministries, district governments, the five locations, and pertinent social groups like chambers, employment administration, trade unions, universities, and nature conservation make funding decisions in the Structural Strengthening Council.

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