To ensure the success of Germany’s hydrogen economy, energy providers and industrial producers must "buy in" to hydrogen technology in the form of electrolysers and fuel cells. But they will only do so if those systems are affordable and H2 can be produced at competitive market prices.
Reference-factory.H2 is a critical research project that aims to give equipment manufacturers the confidence to invest, by designing a flexible, dynamic and scalable serial production process for H2 systems that will dramatically reduce the cost of producing H2. The project combines expertise of four Fraunhofer institutes under the direction of the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology (IWU) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology (IPT).
“We’re basically building a B2B platform in which we merge the core areas of expertise of the Fraunhofer Institutes and the partners involved to create a highly effective value chain for hydrogen systems, thus providing potential stakeholders with a holistic overview of the economic opportunities,” summarises Dr Ulrike Beyer, head of the Hydrogen Task Force at IWU and project coordinator in a .
Some of the reference factory’s components will be physical and some virtual – and automated solutions will be maximised throughout. The platform will also be modular, so that existing technologies can be optimised or used in combination with new solutions. Digital twins of all the production stages will be incorporated in a virtual architecture, allowing for the key components to be developed in different locations but orchestrated together.
The ultimate goal is to support market uptake of hydrogen systems from 2025. Reference-factory. H2 will be presented for the first time at the Fraunhofer booth at Hannover Messe 2022 from May 30 to June 2 (Hall 5, Booth A06).