Novel pipelines for the transport of hydrogen: IVW start-up "isitec composites" receives Leibniz Start-Up Award


Leibniz institutes are dedicated to socially, economically and ecologically relevant issues. The Leibniz Association links 97 independent research institutions. The Leibniz Association Award, endowed with 50,000 euros, is given to start-up projects from Leibniz institutes in the preparatory and start-up phase that stand out for their special achievements in developing innovative and viable business ideas and establishing new companies.

The Leibniz Start-Up Award 2023 goes to the EXIST spin-off project "isitec composites" of the Leibniz-Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe GmbH (IVW) in Kaiserslautern. The business idea is a novel manufacturing process that can be used to produce pipelines for transporting hydrogen. These are superior to the steel pipelines used to date in terms of performance and cost. The new manufacturing process is based on an impregnation technology developed at the Leibniz-Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe GmbH (IVW). This makes it possible to process the starting materials of fibers and thermoplastics directly into a finished hydrogen tube. This eliminates previously necessary intermediate steps in the production of such pipes, thus achieving both an ecological and an economic advantage.

Science Minister Clemens Hoch was pleased with the success: "This prestigious award to a spin-off project of the Leibniz-Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe is further proof of the strength of the Kaiserslautern region as a location for science and innovation. The research conducted there deals with the really big challenges of our time, such as the energy transition. isitec composites is an excellent example of how such research can be put into practice here in Rhineland-Palatinate. I wish the project every success."

"In the future, gaseous hydrogen will be needed in large quantities for a transformation of the national and international energy industry towards climate-neutral energy sources. This can be produced in a climate-neutral manner by electrolysis from renewable energies and can be used in a variety of ways, either directly as an energy carrier or in combination with other materials. For the practical implementation of this strategy, an efficient and cost-effective pipeline network for transporting the hydrogen will play a decisive role in the future. To get the hydrogen to where it is needed, we can contribute to particularly sustainable, durable and cost-effective pipeline systems by using fiber-thermoplastic composites. The project will enable our spin-off team to implement and successfully commercialize the technology," explained Professor Breuer, IVW's scientific director.

"We are overwhelmed and grateful for the recognition we have received through the Start-Up Award. This prize confirms us in our endeavor to create a new and innovative solution for the necessary transformation of our energy industry towards climate-neutral energy sources. The prize money will support the implementation of the project with regard to market entry. Up to the final market maturity, it is necessary to solve questions in the area of plant technology as well as approval regulations. For this reason, we are also interested in financially strong partners who want to support us and share in our success, " says Dr. Tobias Donhauser, who will lead the EXIST spin-off project.

Link to the project:

The award-winning start-up team of isitec composites, Tobias Donhauser (2nd from right), Katarzyna Gorzedowski and Jonas Bernhart (right) with Ulf Breuer (Director of the Leibniz-Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe). Photo: David Ausserhofer/Leibniz-Association

Press Contact

Ariane McCauley

Management Assistant

Scientific Contact


Tobias Donhauser

Project Manager EXIST-Transfer of Research "isitec"

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