The National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology NIP (2006-2016) has contributed significantly and measurably to accelerating market development of hydrogen technology, to securing Germany’s technological leadership in this area and to further developing the establishment of value-added chains and shares. These are the key findings of the programme evaluation, which was carried out by consultancy firm McKinsey & Company on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure.

Federal government and industry have invested a total of around 1.4 billion euro in NIP hydrogen and fuel cell projects between 2007 and 2016. Around 240 industrial companies as well as 50 research and educational institutes as well as public entities received funding from the NIP, thus securing the leadership position in this area.

Germany is one of the world’s five technology leaders in stationary as well as mobile applications. This enabled the costs of many fuel cell types to be halved over the course of the programme. In stationary applications, fuel cells today are between 60 to 80 per cent cheaper than in 2006. This remarkable development is essential in order to be able to compete internationally. The costs of mobile applications were also brought down. However greater savings will only come about through series production.

Technological progress must continue in order for hydrogen and fuel cell technology to establish itself on the market. The turnover of beneficiary companies in the area of hydrogen and fuel cells has however, quadrupled between 2006 and 2016 to around 260 million per year. In the area of stationary home energy applications in particular, the first marketable products were developed and sold – the manufacturers were all funded through the NIP.

Along with Japan and the US, Germany is a country with the largest supplier and manufacturing landscape. Germany covers the length of the supply chain with 20 manufacturers and 12 distributors of fuel cell and components. In some areas however, the added value occurs largely in Asia. Still, in the stationary applications area, Germany has the most broad-based market worldwide. This said, there are no commercial products in mobile applications in Germany – only Toyota and Honda in Japan and Hyundai in South Korea have already produced fuel cell vehicles in series production. Hydrogen refuelling stations fare better: with Linde, Germany is one of the three top manufacturers internationally.

The continuation of this successful programme until 2026 has already been agreed by the federal government, with the evaluation results to be fed into the design of the second phase.

An evaluation summary of the first phase of the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology along with other results can be found here: Download report [PDF]