New Fraunhofer Innovation Platform for Hydrogen in South Korea

28 Sep 2022 | Network Updates | Update from Fraunhofer
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Jointly with Korean scientists, the Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems IMWS has been conducting research on the import of green hydrogen since 2020. The Fraunhofer Innovation Platform for Hydrogen Energy at the Korea Institute of Energy Technology FIP-H2ENERGY@KENTECH will now provide the foundation for a more enhanced cooperation with partners in South Korea. The signing ceremony during the 3rd Germany-Korea Hydrogen Conference on 27th September 2022 in Berlin sealed this cooperation.

The supply of green hydrogen plays a vital role in the transition to a carbon-free economy. Fossil fuels are increasingly to be replaced by climate-neutral green hydrogen, which most commonly is produced through electrolysis. Demand for hydrogen is expected to increase rapidly in the future. In countries like Germany and South Korea, where demand for hydrogen exceeds the country’s own production capacity, reliance on imports will rise. Both countries will thus face similar technical challenges.

As a result, the German Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and the Korean research institute KENTECH have joined forces within the framework of the FIP-H2ENERGY@KENTECH. The FIP is located at the Korea Institute of Energy Technology (KENTECH) in Naju, South Korea. During an initial five-year term, the Fraunhofer IMWS and five other Fraunhofer institutes are cooperating with Korean scientists at KENTECH to develop technologies along the entire hydrogen value chain. “In the energy system of the future, hydrogen can occupy a key position as a raw material and energy carrier. To actively shape this system, we need to optimize existing technologies, develop new solutions, set standards and build the infrastructure required for this. In order to succeed in international competition in the long run and to become a supplier of the hydrogen age, cooperation and technology partnerships with countries that have a comparable level of technology are essential,” emphasized Prof. Reimund Neugebauer, president of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, on the occasion of the signing of the contract in Berlin. “I am therefore very pleased that we have succeeded in establishing and expanding this unique cooperation and innovation platform between Korea and Germany. Together, we will take hydrogen research and development to the next level — and generate new scientific value for both sides.”

The Fraunhofer IMWS is the leading institute for this cooperation and contributes its competences in the fields of material characterization and developments for the "Proton Exchange Membrane" (PEM) electrolysis as well as its experience in photovoltaic-driven hydrogen production. The additional participation of five Fraunhofer Institutes, the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT, the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM, the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB, the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT and the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems IWES serves to unite their individual expertise in this broad field of technology.

The newly founded KENTECH, which focuses on applied energy sciences, is to be developed into the leading institute for hydrogen research in South Korea over the coming years. It primarily contributes its experience in the field of hydrogen liquefaction to the cooperation. Jointly, the scientists will conduct research in the field of hydrogen logistics focusing on the different aspects of the production, conversion, or liquefaction, the transport and the use of green hydrogen.

The signing ceremony at the 3rd Germany-Korea Hydrogen Conference on September 27th in Berlin marked a further milestone of this close scientific collaboration. High-ranking guests from international companies headquartered in Korea and Germany attended the launch of the Fraunhofer Innovation Platform at the Fraunhofer Forum in the presence of the President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

A FIP is a temporary research unit at a university or research institution abroad, which is set up in close cooperation with Fraunhofer Institutes in Germany. In addition to the FIP-H2ENERGY@KENTECH, there are currently 15 Fraunhofer Innovation Platforms worldwide. Their purpose is to promote a collaborative approach to the valorisation, transfer and commercialisation of scientific research results and to utilize synergies to develop new business models and create competitive advantages. The positive impact of research on the economy and society is thereby always paramount.

This article was first published on 27 September by Fraunhofer.

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