Hy­dro­gen – the en­er­gy source of the fu­ture

An economy without greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 – this is Europe’s declared, 30-year goal for halting climate change. Renewable energies are expected to replace fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas. Hydrogen will play an important role in the sustainable transformation of the energy supply system.

Hydrogen is a highly versatile energy source with immense potential for synergies because it can be used across sector boundaries – in clean mobility, for the efficient supply of electricity and heating, as an energy storage medium to offset fluctuating supplies from renewable sources, and as a basis for alternative fuels or as a process gas in industry. Sustainably and economically produced hydrogen is therefore a key element in greatly reducing emissions – especially of the harmful greenhouse gas carbon dioxide – in the energy, transport and industrial sectors and thus in combating climate change. At the same time, the establishment of a cross-sectoral and, if possible, global hydrogen economy is opening up enormous opportunities for new technologies and business models.

Setting the course for a climate-neutral energy and transport system

DLR is active in all areas of hydrogen research and along the entire process chain – from production to storage and use. With the experience gained over several decades, its researchers are working to make it widely usable. DLR’s scientists can draw upon several decades of experience in working to exploit its potential. In order to produce hydrogen sustainably and economically on a large industrial scale in the near future, DLR is researching two main methods – electrolysis and solar-thermal processes. DLR is also investigating how hydrogen can be stored as efficiently and safely as possible and transported over long distances. DLR is developing both special fuel cells and new types of hydrogen tanks for mobile use, and is integrating them into the relevant systems, be they cars, buses, trucks, cargo bicycles, trains, aircraft or ships. Together with turbine and power plant manufacturers, DLR is conducting research in the fields of fuel flexibility and design concepts for ensuring that mixtures of natural gas and hydrogen burn as stably and with as few pollutant emissions as possible.

Karsten Lemmer is the DLR Executive Board Member responsible for ‘Innovation, Transfer and Research Infrastructure’ and is a member of the National Hydrogen Council, which advises the German Federal Government’s State Secretaries Committee for Hydrogen by making recommendations for implementing the national hydrogen strategy. Germany’s national strategy was developed as the European Commission was publishing its own plan and setting up the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance to put it into practice. Based on its own experience of hydrogen research at the European level, DLR welcomes the Commission's ambition and hopes to secure a more prominent role for science through a permanent representation within the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance.

Background articles

News on the topic



Synlight high-performance light source at DLR Jülich
Thermal hydrogen production experiment using solar radiation from the Synlight high-performance light source at DLR Jülich.
Solar absorber
As part of the SOL2HY2 project, all key components of the HyS process (solar sulphuric acid splitting, sulphur dioxide depolarised electrolysis, gas separation, heat storage) are being developed and demonstrated on a relevant scale. To this end, DLR is developing a pilot plant for the solar splitting of sulphuric acid in the order of 100 kW for operation on the solar tower in Jülich.
Vision of a future hydrogen economy
The more aircraft are powered by hydrogen, the greater the amount required. The adaptation of airport infrastructure is necessary. As demand increases, the expansion of a corresponding supply network becomes necessary.
Hydrogen fuel cell in the laboratory of the DLR Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics
The interaction of hybrid energy concepts is being continuously improved for higher performance classes of aircraft with the help of simulation models.



Dr. Sarina Keller

Head of Directorate Energy
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne

Magnus Lamp

Head of Directorate Transport
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne

Andreas Manecke

Head of Directorate
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Directorate Aeronautics
Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne

Susann Groß

Head of Programme Space R&D
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Programme Space R&D
Hansestraße 115, 51149 Cologne