For the dissemination of H2 technology, a paradigm shift in the societal and technical field, but also in research and development, is required for many technological challenges - especially in the fields of energy and mobility. In view of this, sustainability and energy transition as pressing topics of the time have already been centrally anchored in many projects of Leibniz-IWT for several years (example).
With its three main departments, the Leibniz-IWT is predestined to make a significant contribution to the decarbonization strategy and to H2 technologies in the context of materials development and application. Potential research impulses from the IWT for hydrogen technology can be found along the entire process chain: production - storage - handling - transport - use. In many respects, structural materials for the aforementioned forms of handling hydrogen are also required in this context, as these must be produced for the rapidly developing H2 markets not only in terms of their technological properties, but also in a mass-compatible and economical manner.
At the institute, work on the future topic of "green hydrogen" is increasingly intensified and interdisciplinary - i.e. in close cooperation of all main departments as well as with external partners from science and industry. Since 2021, the first devices of an expanded equipment are already available for the research of new materials and processes for the hydrogen economy, such as a tomographic 3D atom probe, a cryoforming dilatometer as well as a cryo-lab for the determination of mechanical and fracture mechanical characteristic values on materials for use in the field of cryogenic hydrogen technology (from 15 K).
In the new instrumented notched bar impact testing facility, materials with a working capacity of 300 J can be tested in accordance with DIN EN ISO 14556. This is particularly relevant in recent research into the storage of liquid hydrogen. With the aid of the new testing machine, tests can now also be carried out to determine and evaluate the fracture mechanical behavior of materials at the typically prevailing storage temperatures of liquid hydrogen (21 K or -252 °C). This can provide important insights for current research:
Which material-relevant factors interact during the storage and transport of liquid hydrogen? And which properties need to be taken into account and possibly optimized further? These questions are now being answered piece by piece with the aid of the new testing machine.
In a novel hydrogen reactor, interactions of molten metals and hydrogen are to be investigated in more detail. For this purpose, the molten metal is charged with a hydrogen-rich atmosphere and disintegrated into individual droplets in a drop-on-demand process. These droplets are solidified with modular process variants at specific cooling rates. In this way, a wide range of hydrogen-loaded sample shapes is obtained, which serve as a basis for the investigation of hydrogen-induced defects, but also for research regarding hydrogen storage.
In current and future projects, this expanded equipment will be used to combine research into new material concepts for H2 applications for mobile and stationary hydrogen storage, hydrogen-solid reactions, surface technology and research into materials suitable for recycling with IWT expertise in materials development, additive and convertional manufacturing, process engineering, high-precision surface design or even biocorrosion.
Valuable in this context is the strong cooperation in the Leibniz Strategy Forum "Technological Sovereignty" in the clusters "Materials for Digitalization" and "Hydrogen Economy", which shape the innovation policy agenda.
In addition, Leibniz-IWT is already involved in numerous cooperation projects, for example as a partner of the North German Hydrogen Strategy or the ITZ Nord (Innovation and Technology Center for Hydrogen in Mobility in association with Bremen, Hamburg and Stade) as well as in the EcoMat Hydrogen Center Bremen (EHC).
In the area of industrial transfer to the hydrogen economy, the institute's involvement in the lead technology project "TTgoesH2" is significant, in which, among other things, the transformation of thermal process plants, for example in the steel industry, is supported by innovative material and plant concepts.
Due to the wide range of projects in this area, we work in parallel in the various departments, working groups interdisciplinary with each other but also with many external cooperation partners.