All about Hydrogen

All about Hydrogen

Here you will find all information about hydrogen research at the MPIE. The list contains research projects as well as press releases on latest publications and explanatory videos.

Explanatory videos

Press Releases and research projects

In the foreground, a section of the extensive area of a landfill site with rust-red mud, in the background a much smaller aluminium plant. The plant and landfill are located on a gulf, which can be seen in the upper half of the picture. Green meadows can be seen on the right.

An economical process with green hydrogen can be used to extract CO2-free iron from the red mud generated in aluminium production more

How to prevent materials failure caused by hydrogen embrittlement?

Dr. Rasa Changizi explains the behaviour of hydrogen in metals and how to avoid its risks, in a short video. more

Ammonia: efficient hydrogen carrier and green steel enabler

Max Planck materials scientists use ammonia for sustainable iron- and steelmaking. They publish their latest findings in the Journal Advanced Science

Sustainable steel production using ammonia

New video explains the benefits of ammonia as hydrogen carrier and reduction material for iron ores more


In this EU Horizon project, we at MPIE, will focus on the sustainable pre-reduction of manganese ores with hydrogen, especially the kinetic analysis of the reduction process using thermogravimetry analysis and an in-depth understand the role of microstructure and local chemistry in the reduction process.

How to prevent hydrogen embrittlement?

New video explains strategies to counteract crack propagation in aluminum more

Sustainability and competitiveness for Europe’s metallurgical industry

Start of a collaborative research project on the sustainable production of manganese and its alloys being funded by European Union with 7 million euros more

Hydrogen - the future fuel source

New video explains how green hydrogen is produced more

Reducing Iron Oxides without Carbon by using Hydrogen-Plasma

Steel is the dominant metallic material. The production per year is 1.8 billion tons, of which 30% can be produced out of recycled melted scrap. The huge rest amount has to be newly produced from oxide minerals reduced by CO in blast furnaces, followed by partial removal of C by O2 in converters. The CO2 emission of these two processes is enormous,  approx. 2.1 tons of CO2 per 1 ton of steel. Steel making thus becomes the largest single greenhouse gas emitter worldwide (~ 8% of all emissions). ROC is intensively involved in basic research needed to drastically cut down these CO2 emissions, by up tp 80% and beyond. This is the biggest single leverage we have to fight global warming.

“ROC” rocks: Green steel project funded by European Research Council

Prof. Dierk Raabe, director at the Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung, wins ERC Advanced Grant more

Hydrogen-associated decohesion and localized plasticity in a high-Mn two-phase lightweight steel

Hydrogen embrittlement (HE) is one of the most dangerous embrittlement problems in metallic materials and  advanced high-strength steels (AHSS) are particularly prone to HE with the presence of only a few parts-per-million of H. However, the HE mechanisms in these materials remain elusive, especially for the lightweight steels where the composition and microstructure significantly differ from the traditional plain-carbon steels. Here we focus on a high-Mn and high-Al lightweight steel and unravel the effects of H-associated decohesion and localized plasticity on its H-induced catastrophic failure.


Impurity engineering for electrochemical nano-catalysts

Enabling a ‘hydrogen economy’ requires developing fuel cells satisfying economic constraints, reasonable operating costs and long-term stability. The fuel cell is an electrochemical device that converts chemical energy into electricity by recombining water from H2 and O2, allowing to generate environmentally-friendly power for e.g. cars or houses. However, upscaling anion-exchange membrane fuel cells (AEMFCs) is hindered by the slow kinetics of hydrogen oxidation reaction (HOR) at the anode.

Hybrid hydrogen-based reduction of iron ores

Replacing carbon by hydrogen as the reducing agent in ironmaking offers a pathway to massively reduce the associated CO2 emissions. However, the production of hydrogen using renewable energy will remain as one of the bottlenecks at least in the next two decades. The underlying reasons are the low electrolysis productivity and the insufficient capacities in both renewable electricity and industrial infrastructures to produce sufficient amounts of green hydrogen, especially in view of the gigantic demand for currently 1.8 billion tons of steel being produced every year, with forecasts predicting 2.4 billion tons by the year 2040. We therefore demonstrate how the efficiency in hydrogen and energy consumption during iron ore reduction can be dramatically improved by the knowledge-based combination of two technologies: partially reducing the ore at low temperature via solid-state hydrogen-based direct reduction (HyDR) to a kinetically defined degree, and subsequently melting and completely transforming it to iron under a reducing plasma (i.e. via hydrogen plasma reduction, HPR) more

Hydrogen plasma-based reduction of iron ores

Iron- and steelmaking is the most staggering single source of CO2 emissions on the planet, accounting for ~7% of the global emissions. This fact challenges the current technologies to achieve carbon-lean steel production and reduce CO2 emissions by 80% until 2050. Among the sustainable alternatives for ironmaking, the hydrogen plasma reduction (HPR) is a promising route, as the associated by-product is water. In this process, a hydrogen plasma arc is ignited between an electrode and the ore in a conventional electrical arc furnace (EAF), Figure 1 (a). Thus, melting and reduction occur simultaneously, enabling the production of liquid iron in single step. The highly energetic hydrogen species existing in a reducing plasma also enable exothermic redox chemical reactions with enhanced kinetics, permitting energy savings.

Multiscale and Operando Studies on the Role of Micro- and Nanostructures in Hydrogen-based Direct Reduction of Iron Oxides

The HYDRI project aims at disentangling the correlation between material micro-/nanostructures and the hydrogen-based direct reduction (HyDR) kinetics, to reveal the vital role of acquired defects in HyDR processes. A multiscale and time-resolved operando approach will be used to characterize micro-/nanostructures in HyDR. Gaining better insights into these effects enable improved access to the microstructure-based design of more efficient HyDR methods, with potentially high impact on the urgently needed decarbonization in the steel industry. more

In-situ investigation of H interaction with stacking faults (SFs) at the stress concentrated crack tip

The main aspect of this project is to understand how hydrogen interacts with dislocations/ stacking faults at the stress concentrated crack tip. A three-point bending test has been employed for this work. more

How hydrogen behaves in aluminium alloys

Hydrogen in aluminium can cause embrittlement and critical failure. However, the behaviour of hydrogen in aluminium was not yet understood. Scientists at the Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung were able to locate hydrogen inside aluminium’s microstructure and designed strategies to trap the hydrogen atoms inside the microstructure. This can reduce failure due to hydrogen embrittlement.  

Hydrogen embrittlement in high manganese lightweight steel

In this project we study the degradation of hydrogen embrittlement resistivity of austenitic high-Mn and high-Al lightweight steels upon age hardening and discover ways to mitigate this deterioration. more

Humboldt Foundation awards Khushubo Devi

Devi joined the MPIE to unravel the process of iron ore reduction with hydrogen more

Hydride formation and deformation mechanisms in titanium

This project targets hydrogen behaviour and hydride formation mechanisms in commercially pure titanium (CP-Ti). A particular focus is on the role of β-pockets. Additionally, knowledge on the deformation behaviour of hydrides and their interaction with the parent Ti matrix can help with design approaches to alleviate hydrogen embrittlement of these alloys.

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