Impressions of the 2023 DAAD Green Hydrogen Research Tour

DAAD - Green Hydrogen Research Tour 2023

During the last week of September, the 21 participants of the DAAD -Green Hydrogen Research Tour had the opportunity to visit nine renowned institutions that are actively contributing to green hydrogen research in Germany, as well as two industries that are currently working on implementing green hydrogen technologies on a larger scale. For 2023, the research tour focused on green hydrogen research and technology in Germany, offering participants a wide range of presentations, visits to laboratories and stations for actual testing of different technologies.

The Research Tour included a variety of topics, such as: the hydrogen and fuel cell center at the University of Duisburg-Essen; the various hydrogen storage developments at Max Planck Institute for Kohlenforschung; the Center for Sustainable Hydrogen Systems (CSHS) at RWTH Aachen; presentation of the entire hydrogen research system at Karlsruhe Institute for Technology; investigations of the PEM Fuel Cell System and a selection of current projects with a focus on mobility & hydrogen at HS-Esslingen; an overview of the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) presenting their research on Fuel Cells, Hydrogen and Batteries; the institute for Energy Technology and Energy Economy and the institute for Automotive Systems Engineering at the TH Ulm, and ending with an overview of hydrogen storage technologies at the Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nuremberg for Renewable Energy.

One of the many highlights of the Research Tour was to address a wide range of topics related to the green hydrogen value chain, from purely scientific and technological aspects, through examples of implementation and commercialization of new technologies, to policies at national and regional level, financing research and implementation of an economy based on green hydrogen. In this way, the participants had an insight into national policy aspects, such as the German government's strategy for green hydrogen, as well as the flagship projects funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research, presented by the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion and by the Research Institute and Project Management Jülich. Participants also heard about the regional implementation strategies of Baden-Württemberg and of Bavaria.

Support for the participants also continues after the tour, as they will have the opportunity to present their research activities to experts from the host institutions, and thereby benefit from a mutual exchange of information with fellows and experts actively researching, developing, and implementing new technologies in the field. Research Tour participants will also become members of the DAAD Green Hydrogen Working Groups and, therefore, create long-term links with other fellows and experts from the German Green Hydrogen community, and benefit from the active work within the Working Groups.

The outcome of the trip and the testimonies of the participants show the importance of creating spaces for the exchange of knowledge and the creation of networks to generate projects and foster cooperation within the European Research Area and with strategic partners around the globe.

  • “Participating in the research tour focused on Green Hydrogen studies and Germany's leading companies and institutes in this field was a truly enriching experience. Witnessing the remarkable advancements and innovations achieved in the realm of Green Hydrogen was both inspiring and informative. I extend my heartfelt appreciation to DAAD for facilitating this exceptional opportunity to connect with esteemed German researchers and industry leaders. The tour provided a valuable platform for collaboration and knowledge exchange, and I am eager to see how this experience will contribute to the development of relationships and partnerships with these prominent figures in the field. It is through such initiatives that we can collectively work towards a more sustainable and greener future. I look forward to continued collaboration and progress in the area of Green Hydrogen studies and extend my gratitude to DAAD for their instrumental role in making this venture possible.”

    Aykut Korkmaz

    Senior Research Assistant, Department of Marine Engineering, Faculty of Maritime

    Dokuz Eylul University, Turkey

  • My name is Leonardo Giannini, I am an Italian PhD candidate from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). Last September I had the chance to participate in the DAAD’s Green Hydrogen Research Tour in Germany, along with many other young researchers in the field. From a technical/academic perspective, it was a great experience that provided me with precious insight concerning the most recent developments of hydrogen in Germany. I was truly impressed by the state of the research and by the several research institutes and universities on the march towards groundbreaking and innovative green technologies. It seemed to me that Germany is leading the scientific process in green hydrogen research in Europe, fostering the translation of basic research into ready-to-use technologies, already in a commercial state. And this is only for what concerns the research because to me the tour was a little more than that. People from around the world, researchers, and young scientists put together in a bus running through the “Autobahn” for one week? I couldn’t imagine a weirder group. But sometimes weird becomes exciting, and having a glimpse of the life of my international colleagues was maybe the best part of it. I got to meet wonderful people, and for once it looked like we were having the best school trip ever!

    Leonardo Giannini

    PhD Candidate in RAMS Engineering, Mechanical and Industrial Department. Current field of study: Hydrogen safety and Inspection Planning for Hydrogen Technology

    Norwegian University of Science and Technology - NTNU.

  • I recently had the privilege of joining the DAAD Green Hydrogen Research Tour in Germany. Our extensive hydrogen research tour encompassed universities, national laboratories, startups and manufacturing plants at the forefront of hydrogen technology innovation. Some highlights included witnessing the fully ready test cells for hydrogen-fuelled engines in RWTH Aachen, the huge “steampunk”-style explosion tube in KIT, the container-based plant for producing synthetic fuel in INERATEC GmbH, the demonstrating fuel-cell trucks in Hochschule Esslingen, the IVECO’s manufacturing plant for fuel-cell trucks, and the innovative hydrogen storage via LOHC in Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nuremberg for Renewable Energy. During my week-long tour of German hydrogen research institutions, I discussed with the experts across the value chain underscored Germany's integrated approach to aligning stakeholders from government, academia and industry and gained invaluable exposure to the country's impressive innovation ecosystem. I was struck by how seamlessly integrated the German hydrogen research ecosystem is, from universities producing breakthroughs to startups engineering solutions, all the way to industry-scale implementation. This end-to-end linkage gives Germany a strategic advantage in hydrogen development. In addition, the atmosphere of the visiting tour group was welcoming and collaborative. Interacting with experts across sectors provided a terrific networking opportunity. Connecting in-person while learning about Germany’s innovations made the tour even more valuable.

    Yuang Feng

    Postdoctoral Researcher, Field of research: Hydrogen-Fuelled Combustion Engines

    Ghent University

  • The Green Hydrogen tour has been a very intensive and enriching week. It was very well organized and has been a great opportunity to connect and engage in knowledge-sharing with German researchers and fellow participants. I gained more insights on the organization of German teaching and research system and got in contact with many different universities, companies, and research institutions, that showed us their research projects and activities and their cutting-edge labs. This immersive experience was great to set the foundation for potential future collaboration. Moreover, given the diverse branches in the field of hydrogen research, covering many of them during the tour was particularly interesting also to enhance my knowledge on aspects with which I was less familiar. Finally, it has opened up the possibility for a potential future research stay in Germany. Thank you DAAD!

    Angelica Liponi

    Post-doctoral research fellow. Field of Research: Low-temperature electrolysis coupled with variable renewables; hydrogen liquefaction.

    University of Pisa

  • When I saw the detailed schedule of the DAAD Green Hydrogen Research Tour 2023, I was somewhat surprised. The itinerary covers 8 cities and includes visiting lots of research institutions and companies within a week's time. Later, I found out that almost participant shared the same sentiment. However, this comprehensive schedule does provide us with an in-depth understanding of the latest developments and innovative projects in Germany's green hydrogen technology field. It also offers us the opportunity to interact with experts from various European institutions and specialized hydrogen-related fields. I was impressed that each presentation on a different topic led to a wonderful discussion. Although such an arrangement may pose physical and mental challenges for participants, and also our Mr. Driver, great thanks, it is indeed a rare opportunity to gain a wealth of information in a short period, build networks, and accelerate international collaboration. We have the chance to delve into Germany's pioneer position in green hydrogen research while showcasing our own research achievements, promoting academic and industry exchange and collaboration. Really appreciate the hard work from the staff I know, like Dr. Schäfer and more people we do not know, to make this grand tour come true.”

    Shangwei Zhou

    PhD researcher and Post Graduate Teaching Assistant in Dept of Chemical Engineering. Field of Research: PEMWE structure design and optimisation. Green hydrogen application. Fuel cell system control and modeling.

    University College London

  • "During this super-charged research tour I had the privilege of visiting more than 10 top-tier research institutions and companies located in the plains of the Ruhr area, along the Rhine, and in the beautiful hills of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria — all within the span of a week!

    After originally receiving my education in Germany but spending the last 7 years of my research career abroad, I was very curious to see how the Green Hydrogen landscape was developing in my home country. What really stood out to me, was the impressive scale and the high professionalism at which research was being conducted. In my opinion, the close collaboration of research institutions with industry really sets the German system apart. This synergy allows the funding of state-of-the-art facilities and trained technicians, significantly enhancing the effectiveness of the scientific staff. Further, research is geared towards solving real-world problems, which often leads to innovative solutions and the founding of new industries.

    The group consistent of 20 experts with a very broad spectrum of expertise and a highly diverse backgrounds from all over Europe. Despite the intense program, we had a lot of opportunities to socialize and quickly formed a tight-knit group, making the tour feel a little bit like a school trip. I am looking forward to extending many of these new relationships during future conferences, travels, or research collaborations!"

    Lorenz Baumgartner

    Postdoctoral researcher. Field of research: Construction of a PEM electrolyzer and testing of catalyst coated membranes. CO2 electrolysis. Manufacturing and testing gas diffusion electrodes, study of mass transfer in CO2 electrolyzers (similar to PEM electrolysis), electrochemical engineering: design of flow cells, reactor scale-up, COMSOL multiphysics.

    Delft University of Technology (Netherlands)

  • "The DAAD H2 Research Tour was an exceptional opportunity, providing me with an enlightening week spent visiting 11 esteemed research centers and companies at the forefront of green hydrogen technology in Germany. The program offered a comprehensive view of the cutting-edge advancements in green hydrogen, along with a profound understanding of Germany's educational and research structures, as well as available funding options within this field.

    In addition to showcasing impressive technologies and top-tier facilities, the tour served as a dynamic platform for exchanging insights with field experts. Connecting with peers from diverse backgrounds in the H2 technology field was particularly rewarding, opening doors for future collaborations, and establishing a network for collective efforts towards sustainable energy solutions.

    I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the DAAD German Academic Exchange Service for this outstanding organization and excellent guidance throughout the tour. It was a unique experience which expanded my knowledge in green hydrogen technologies and forged connections with potential collaborators, paving the way for future joint projects and ongoing idea exchange."

    Seçil Ünsal

    Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Electrochemistry Innovation Lab Field of research: electrode fabrication for PEM electrolysers, single cell testing and, developing testing protocols to understand component specific degradation in electrolysers. PEM fuel cells. Designing gradual catalyst layers for PEMFC cathodes for high performances.

    University College London (UCL).

  • The Green Hydrogen Research Tour organized by the DAAD was an amazing experience. We had the opportunity to visit the laboratories of Germany's most important research centers for green hydrogen production. The experience was exciting and inspiring in every way. The best part of the trip was spending a week with 20 other researchers in the field of green hydrogen production from all over Europe, sharing our ideas and cultures.

    Elena Spennati

    Post-doc position at the Department of Civil, Chemical and Environment Engineering (DICCA). Project: "Catalysts and catalytic processes for the production of H2 and/or its use in the synthesis of e-fuels".

    University of Genoa

  • I came to the DAAD hydrogen research tour 2023 with big expectations about the discussions I wanted to have with experts. My expectations were gladfully met. I am currently researching the potential environmental impacts of using hydrogen on trucks, from a life cycle perspective. This means that the entire supply chain needs to be included in the analysis (e.g., Production, transmission and distribution, use and end-of-life).

    During the trip I met experts from every stage of the hydrogen supply chain and had engaging and stimulating discussions. Interestingly, many of my fellow tour comrades were experts on their fields and getting firsthand opinions from them greatly enriched my research.

    I wanted to thank the tour organizers and the DAAD for creating these kinds of opportunities. Networking is fundamental to establish a strong research community and those were lovely days in Germany.


    Jorge Enrique Velandia Vargas

    Postdoctoral researcher. Field of research: Quantification of the environmental impacts of producing, transporting and using hydrogen on long-haul trucks.

    Chalmers University of technology.

  • To DAAD’s organizers,

    I truly appreciate your effort and passion to this hydrogen tour, and I am so honored to be one of the participants. I must say this is one of the best experiences in my academic career. As a participant in this DAAD’s academic journey focused on Hydrogen Energy in Germany, I was deeply immersed in an enriching and enlightening experience. Through this program with Germany’s pioneering efforts in renewable energy, I gained a comprehensive understanding of the latest advancements and challenges in hydrogen energy.

    The program was meticulously organized, reflecting DAAD’s commitment to academic excellence. Our itinerary included visits to several leading research facilities and universities, where we engaged with top experts in this field. In-depth exchanges, including lectures, lab tours, and discussions, provided us valuable insights into the cutting-edge research and industrial level development being carried out in Germany.

    The highlights for myself were the workshops in Julich and KIT, where we witnessed firsthand the practical applications of hydrogen energy in production, transportation, and industry. Conversations with engineers and scientists were particularly impactful, as they highlighted the real-world implications of our academic studies for the future.

    More importantly, the friendship developed during this journey was as valuable as the academic knowledge gained. We shared not only insights but also laughter, cultural exchanges, and plans for future collaborations. I am deeply thankful to DAAD for facilitating this multifaceted and fruitful bus-trip, which has enriched my academic path and my personal life with enduring friendships.

    Yaolin Wang

    Postdoctoral Research Associate Field of Research: Plasma-assisted ammonia decomposition to hydrogen using renewable electricity; Plasma-assisted hydrogen chemical storage; Green hydrogen-based E-fuel production using plasma technology

    University of Liverpool

  • "The green hydrogen tour was a unique and intense experience for me. In just one week, we visited high-level institutions in Germany that work on several topics related to green hydrogen. It was impressive to see first-hand top technologies from fundamental research up to large-scale applications. There, we had the chance to listen and to get in contact with experienced researchers in the field of hydrogen including material development, storage, transportation, and German policy strategies. We also got to know about career opportunities in Germany and met potential employers. Thus, during this tour, I could not only improve my knowledge related to green hydrogen but also meet potential collaborators and get insights for my next career goals.

    On top of that, I also had the chance to meet the other participants who brought interesting insights from their researchers as well as some fun moments during the tour. It was a pleasant experience to see new places in Germany, learn more about German culture as well as get to meet interesting people from different places. I should highlight that the DAAD tour organizers did a great job of planning all the details, getting everything working as planned, and giving support as much as needed. The green hydrogen tour was certainly an enriching personal and professional experience beyond my expectations, and I truly recommend it."

    Tatiana Santos Andrade

    Chalmers University of Technology

  • Exploring Germany's Green Hydrogen Innovations

    DAAD Green Hydrogen Research Tour was an enlightening journey that immersed me in the realm of green hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. Throughout the tour, I had the privilege of visiting esteemed research institutions and forward-thinking organizations, all dedicated to advancing sustainable energy solutions. Our expedition spanned multiple locations across Germany, providing invaluable insights into the cutting-edge research, development, and applications of green hydrogen.

    During our travels, we were introduced to groundbreaking research in the fields of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. It was truly fascinating to witness the innovative work taking place at various German institutions, driving the transition toward cleaner and more efficient energy sources.

    The tour delivered a comprehensive view of the intricate world of green hydrogen, highlighting the collaborative efforts, innovation, and unwavering commitment of organizations and institutions leading the charge in sustainable energy solutions. This immersive experience not only expanded my knowledge but also strengthened my resolve to contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally responsible future. I eagerly anticipate the opportunity to collaborate with esteemed German research institutions in our shared pursuit of a greener tomorrow.

    Meenakshi Seshadhri Garapati

    Postdoctoral researcher Field of Research: Gas-phase synthesis of catalyst nanoparticles for PEM water electrolysis; Fuel cells; Design of electrocatalyst materials for PEMFC.

    Institute of Thermomechanics of the Czech Academy of Sciences, v. v. i.,

  • My participation in the Green Hydrogen Research Tour 2023, organized by DAAD, proved to be an enlightening and enriching experience. From the outset, the tour exceeded my expectations, providing not only a comprehensive overview of the latest developments in green hydrogen research across Germany but also fostering meaningful connections with professionals from diverse backgrounds. Each day of the tour unfolded like a perfectly orchestrated puzzle, revealing the intricate picture of cutting-edge research in the field of Green Hydrogen. This trip was not only an amazing professional learning experience for me, but I also met an amazing group of green hydrogen fellows from different nationalities working in different countries. I personally enjoyed the company of each one of them and made good personal and professional connections. One of the tour's highlights was observing the enthusiasm and openness of German institutions towards collaboration. Inspired by this, my key takeaway is to foster robust partnerships between my current organization, VITO in Belgium, and German institutes working on similar fronts. I express heartfelt gratitude to organizers from DAAD, Laura Méndez Prencke and Dr. Christian Schäfer for curating this seamless and enriching experience. Looking ahead, I anticipate my continued engagement through active participation in the Green Hydrogen Working Group and wish all the success for future Green Hydrogen Research Tours.

    Dr. Ruchi Gupta

    Senior Researcher International Energy & Climate

    VITO NV, Belgium

DAAD - Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst - German Academic Exchange Service