17. February 2021 | Magazine:

Mobility: Application for Hydrogen Centre at the Site Braunschweig-Salzgitter NFF and Allianz der Region submit concept for hydrogen centre in mobility applications to federal government

In January 2021, Allianz für die Region GmbH, as the applicant, together with the Automotive Research Centre Niedersachsen (NFF) of the Technische Universität Braunschweig and other partners, submitted the concept outline for a hydrogen centre to the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. The ministry called for this site competition in November 2020. The planned centre is to become a think tank, development centre and practical campus in the field of hydrogen & mobility.

The NFF research centre at Braunschweig Research Airport. Picture credits: NFF

For the Lower Saxony sub-regions of south-eastern Lower Saxony, southern Lower Saxony and Hanover, the topic of “hydrogen and mobility” already has a high priority – in industry and in research. With its research centres – NFF, the Open Hybrid LabFactory (OHLF), the Aeronautics Research Centre Niedersachsen (NFL) and BatteryLab Factory (BLB) – the TU Braunschweig is an important partner for projects in the field of mobility. In addition, there are initiatives such as the Hydrogen Campus Salzgitter for industrial applications, which the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST also supports. The location thus offers a closely interconnected infrastructure for the planned hydrogen centre, both at the energy industry level and at the research and industry-based level.

The submitted concept comprises four main topics: Open platform for hydrogen-based mobility, innovation office for SMEs and start-ups, certification and pre-norming office, and development and application office. “Our concept idea pursues the approach of bundling regional as well as nationwide competences with regard to hydrogen-based fuel cell technology for different mobility applications such as cars, aircraft, trains or ships,” says Professor Thomas Vietor, spokesman of the NFF board. This will create a strong network of nationally and internationally operating industrial and research institutions that complement each other in terms of topics and infrastructure and close existing gaps in the context of the planned centre.

About the site competition

The competition is organised by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI). The National Organisation for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW GmbH) and the Project Management Organisation Jülich (PtJ) are responsible for the implementation of the competition. NOW will provide technical support in connection with the programmatic orientation and Jülich will provide technical support for the realisation of the competition.

After NOW and PtJ have reviewed the entries, up to three locations are expected to be selected by the Ministry in March 2021, for each of which the BMVI will commission a feasibility analysis. These studies will analyse the fundamental implementation aspects for the establishment and functioning of such a user centre at the respective location, taking into account the legal, technical and economic framework conditions. Based on these studies and the recommendations contained therein, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure plans to implement the most suitable location. The applicants expect a final decision on the location in autumn 2021 at the earliest.

Application consortium and involved and supporting actors from industry and science

Under equal authority with the Allianz für die Region GmbH as the applicant and joint coordination with the Automotive Research Centre Niedersachsen of the Technische Universität Braunschweig (NFF) and the Südostniedersachsen project office, Robert Bosch Elektronik GmbH, the Fraunhofer IST, IAV GmbH, the region of Hannover, the Ostfalia Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften, the Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), the Südniedersachsenstiftung and TLK-Thermo GmbH have come together to prepare the application for Lower Saxony.