Challenges of the Living Labs of the Energy Transition in the Context of Hydrogen

Discussion Paper from the Transfer Research of the Living Labs of the Energy Transition

The Living Labs of the Energy Transition (Reallabore der Energiewende) are implementation projects funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Action (BMWK). These projects, which began as early as 2020, aim to accompany the market entry and scaling-up of technologies by implementing them on an industrial scale under real-world conditions. The Trans4ReaL project provides scientific support for these living labs, focusing on hydrogen and sector coupling. The insights gained from these endeavors serve as the foundation for the linked discussion paper, which examines the current challenges faced by implementation projects in advancing the hydrogen market in Germany.

Challenges in terms of regulation, cost structures and business models

In the past, the often criticized lack of or slow-developing regulation frequently led to delayed final investment decisions in many projects. However, the discussion paper reveals that the challenges faced by demonstration and implementation projects in the hydrogen ramp-up are both individual and multifaceted. These challenges extend beyond regulation and also encompass cost structures and business models.

Figure 1: Summary of the most important current challenges in the realisation of hydrogen projects in Germany

The figure illustrates the key current challenges in implementing hydrogen projects in Germany, which all companies involved in a hydrogen project must grapple with and assess individually. For example, the appendix of the discussion paper contains the individual assessments of five of the supported living labs regarding these challenges. The discussion paper does not address the evaluation and prioritization, which would be the next step, relying on input from implementation projects.