Highlights in 2020
Highlights in 2020

High impact innovation activity triggered by MI

German energy research policy was completely geared towards the energy transition by the 7th Energy Research Programme published in September 2018. The topics emphasized within MI were considered in the design of the programme. For example, the research topic of artificial photosynthesis, as being explored within IC5, was included as an important research topic for the first time. In addition, the funding for clean energy research has increased substantially since the launch of MI.

Update on clean energy innovation policies and strategies

Germany intends to be climate neutral by 2050, in line with the wider European ambition to become the first climate neutral continent. Innovation plays an important role in reaching this goal.

In June 2020 Germany launched its National Hydrogen Strategy[1]. The National stimulus package for the COVID-recovery provides 7 billion euros for the implementation of the National Hydrogen Strategy domestically, and another 2 billion euros for fostering international cooperation in the field of hydrogen. Under the scope of the National Hydrogen Strategy Germany established the National Hydrogen Council as well as the Innovation Commissioner for Green Hydrogen at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The Federal Ministry for Economic Research and Energy has launched a new Energy Research Network on hydrogen which has already been joined by more than 1000 experts from science, industry and society.

Major innovation initiatives and programmes in 2020/21

As innovation plays a central role in many measures of the National Hydrogen Strategy the Federal Government launched dedicated funding measures for hydrogen research and innovation over the course of 2020 and 2021. These include:

  • Four large-scale Living Labs for the Energy Transition (700 million euros in funding) which will address the real-live implementation of hydrogen technologies in industry, transport and buildings
  • Three Large-scale flagship projects in the field of basic research (700 million euros provided by the stimulus package) addressing the following challenges with a close cooperation between industry and research:
    • H2GIGA: Industrialise the production of electrolysers by laying the scientific groundwork for automated mass production
    • H2Mare: Offshore production of hydrogen from wind power and offshore PtX in integrated facilities
    • TransHyDE: Validation of transport solutions for Green hydrogen
  • Dedicated research initiative for applied research on hydrogen technologies.

Seven large scale Several Living Labs for the Energy Transition were started. These address climate neutral cities as well as well as hydrogen technologies and demonstrate the systemic interaction of technologies close to application a real-world environment. Around 100 million Euros per year are available for Living Labs for the Energy Transition.

A new phase of the Carbon2Chem projects (78 million euro in funding) was launched. The Carbon2Chem project will expand the large-scale recycling of emissions from steel production.

Furthermore, many smaller projects and initiatives were launched addressing various areas of clean energy such as battery storage, smart meters, resource efficiency, digital technologies, societal aspects of the energy transition, CO2-technologies and more. In addition, Germany responded effectively to the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic caused for energy research, by providing additional funding and simplifying administrative procedures.

The yearly Federal Government Report on Energy Research provides an overview of clean energy innovation funding in Germany and is available in English.[2]

Private sector engagement in 2020/21

Cooperative projects with partners from research institutions and industry are an important element of public energy RD&D funding in Germany. Within such projects, companies contributed 304 million Euros for clean energy research in 2020. This funding approach ensures firstly that the research questions addressed by publicly funded research projects are relevant to industrial partners and secondly, the innovation transfer to practical solutions and products needed for the energy transition is already considered at the start of the research project. To accelerate the transfer of innovations, the German Federal Government has initiated nine Energy Research Networks. Currently more than 4500 experts from industry, academia and society are organized in these open networks.

Major activities in support of the Innovation Challenges in 2020/21

In 2020/2021 representatives from Germany participated in different workshops, in particular with respect to the innovation challenges 5 and 8. With respect to IC8, the main goal was to integrate the IC8 results (such as the hydrogen valleys platform) into the upcoming Mission Hydrogen. In IC5 an international roadmap was published, an important result of the first phase of MI. In addition, with respect to IC1, Germany participated in the MICall20 and contributed to the SGIA platform. Furthermore, Germany supports the work of IC7 via the IEA TCP Heat Pumping Technologies and the IEA TCP Solar Heating and Cooling. Germany is promoting MI within its research communication activities, for example in the yearly Federal Government Report on Energy Research.

Other Mission Innovation related activity in 2020/21

Germany is participating in the second round of the MI Champions Programme. Also, Germany is actively participating in the development of a second phase of Mission Innovation.

Public sector RD&D investment

New Collaborations