Pressing ahead with its hydrogen strategy, Rheinmetall is now taking part in a national hydrogen and fuel cell initiative with financial backing from the German federal government and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Rheinmetall is an industrial partner of the research and development consortium Centre for Fuel Cell Technology, or ZBT, in Duisburg. Known for its hydrogen acumen, the ZBT is one of four financially backed innovation and technology centres (ITZ) for hydrogen technology selected in Germany. To enable organization and expansion of the ITZ, which will focus primarily on mobility applications relating to hydrogen, up to €100 million in development funds from the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure and the government of North Rhine-Westphalia is slated to go to Duisburg and participating consortium partners in coming years.
Rheinmetall has been developing and producing products for fuel cell systems for over twenty years. In the short term, the company sees sales potential for fuel cell system components of between €150 million and €250 million for itself. In recent months alone, the company has booked orders in this field with a lifetime value of around €50 million. From now on, Rheinmetall will be drawing on its experience and expertise in this domain to position itself even more firmly as a leader in hydrogen and fuel cell technology.
Looking ahead, Rheinmetall will establish a high-performance technology and industrialization centre for mobile and stationary hydrogen technology applications at its Neuss site. Along with the safe generation and distribution of hydrogen as well as data security for hydrogen infrastructure, the prime focus will be on fuel cell systems themselves. In Neuss – located just across the Rhine from Düsseldorf – work will be carried out in synergetic tandem with the ITZ in nearby Duisburg, enabling the Group to press ahead with in-house research and development for new hydrogen technology-related products, and readying these for industrial production.
But the Rheinmetall Technology Centre for Hydrogen also serves as an environ¬ment for small- and mid-sized companies or start-ups, enabling them to bring their product ideas to market more quickly with the help of an established technology group. As a consortium partner, Rheinmetall’s role will essentially be to bring its expertise in preparing new products for production to the ITZ run from Duisburg, and to assist young companies in gaining access to the marketplace.
This way, the Düsseldorf-based technology group will contribute to establishing Germany and the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia as leading locations for hydrogen technology in Europe.
Hydrogen is a key element in the ongoing transition to a climate-neutral future energy supply and the climate-neutral transformation of industry. Experts therefore see substantial global growth potential for the production, storage, distribution and use of hydrogen. A projection based on the goals of the Paris Agreement suggests that annual market volume could expand from the current figure of around €5 billion to over €100 billion by 2030.