Fossil fuels are becoming rare and more expensive and lead both to high CO2 emissions and to climate change. Therefore alternatives to oil and gas are needed. The German industry and government (as part of the High-Tech-Strategy for Germany) are funding applied research for propulsion systems and stationary energy systems with hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.
NIP provides a framework for numerous hydrogen and fuel cell research projects in science and industry. The public-private partnership (industry and government) is scheduled for 10 years.
To support the many products and applications of hydrogen and fuel cell technology equally and to address specific market challenges in order to prepare the products for the market, NIP is divided into three programme areas:
- Transport and hydrogen infrastructure: This includes preparation and operation of hydrogen-powered vehicles and the related infrastructure, as well as applications in related areas, such as the internal provision of electricity in planes.
- Stationary energy supply in households and industry: Usage of stationary fuel cell systems in residential buildings, in the industry and on ships can save a large amount of energy and reduce CO2 emission.
- Special Markets: The application of this programme area is widely spread and covers critical energy provision (IT/telecommunication), logistics, and application of fuel cells in recreational and tourism areas.
The National Organisation for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology GmbH (NOW) is part of the implementation of the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology. The NOW was founded in February 2008. It is the driving force of the programme and holds the overall control. The NOW supervises the development and market preparation of internationally competitive products of hydrogen and fuel cell technology.
Hydrogen and fuel cell technology will play an essential role in the future of mobility and energy supply. In order to guarantee the further development of these technologies, in 2006 government, industry and science began a strategic alliance called the National Innovation Programme Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP). NIP is intended to speed up the process of market preparation of products based on this future-oriented technology. The total budget of NIP invested over a period of ten years until 2016 amounts to € 1.4 billion. The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) provide half of this sum, while the balance is funded by participating industry.
NIP is divided into four programme areas in order to advance in equal measure, numerous hydrogen and fuel cell technology product and application options, and to be able to address in a targeted way the market-specific challenges of market preparation. The particular programme areas are: “Transport and Hydrogen Infrastructure”, “Hydrogen Provision”, “Stationary Energy Supply”, and “Special Markets”. With an eye to series production of components, the explicit focus in all programme areas is on the strengthening of the supply industry.