Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

The Role of Hydrogen in German Residential Buildings

Version 1 : Received: 31 August 2021 / Approved: 1 September 2021 / Online: 1 September 2021 (11:48:40 CEST)

How to cite: Langenberg, L.; Knosala, K.; Pflugradt, N.; Kotzur, L.; Stolten, D.; Stenzel, P. The Role of Hydrogen in German Residential Buildings. Preprints 2021, 2021090008. Langenberg, L.; Knosala, K.; Pflugradt, N.; Kotzur, L.; Stolten, D.; Stenzel, P. The Role of Hydrogen in German Residential Buildings. Preprints 2021, 2021090008.


As fossil-fueled heating in the building sector is responsible for 16 % of Germanys total CO2 emissions, it is of great importance to use climate-neutral alternatives for the decarbonization of this sector. Options for the climate-neutral heating of buildings include electricity or hydrogen as energy carriers, both explicitly considered by German policy. In this paper, bottom-up studies are conducted to investigate the role of hydrogen for the climate-neutral energy supply of ten selected residential buildings in comparison to electricity-based systems. Based on a selection of as different typical buildings as possible for single- (SFH) and multi-family houses (MFH) of different construction years, demand profiles are simulated for each building and the respective cost-optimal supply system is determined. For the construction of this system, the electricity-based technologies available are electric heater and heat pump as well as the hydrogen-based technologies hydrogen boiler and fuel cell combined heat and power (CHP) system. Based on the results of the optimization, sensitivity analyses are performed. These analyses aim to identify threshold values of the hydrogen price for the use of hydrogen in building energy systems as well as to make the quantities of hydrogen consumed visible.The identified threshold values show the significant role of hydrogen-operated CHP in MFH if the hydrogen price reaches 0.17 €/kWhH2 in 2050 at an electricity price of 0.31 €/kWhel. So, hydrogen-based energy systems represent an economically viable alternative to electricity-based systems with heat pumps. We identify electricity to hydrogen price ratios for the economically viable use of hydrogen in the examined buildings that range from 1.67 to 2.82. According to these ratios, the economically reasonable use of hydrogen in buildings can be derived. For the individual building groups for the year 2050, a ratio of 2.5 can be determined for SFH and 1.8 for MFH, that is favored by the use of CHP which also supplies electricity to the buildings. However, the role hydrogen will finally play in German residential buildings in the future depends to a large extent on political decisions on distribution issues and price signals.


Hydrogen; residential buildings; heat supply; renovation; price sensitivity; bottom-up


Engineering, Energy and Fuel Technology

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