TECNALIA sets up a pioneering laboratory in Europe for the development of hydrogen technologies

Hydrogen is emerging as one of the main ways of achieving the zero-emission targets set for 2050 in Europe. Consequently, industry is committed to finding the tools required to make hydrogen a key sustainable energy vector for the energy transition. To this end, the TECNALIA research and technological development centre has set up a laboratory dedicated to developing technologies for generating, storing, transporting, distributing, using hydrogen and making it safe, with pioneering facilities in Europe to research and validate them, and to scale them up in order to accelerate their industrialisation.

Located in the Science and Technology Park of Gipuzkoa, the Hydrogen laboratory was inaugurated by the Lehendakari (Basque President) Iñigo Urkulllu, the Deputy General of Gipuzkoa, Eider Mendoza, the Mayor of Donostia-San Sebastian, Eneko Goia, the Chairman of TECNALIA, Alex Belaustegui, and the Managing Director of TECNALIA, Jesús Valero. These facilities, which cover an area of more than 1,000 square metres and in which more than 5 million euros have been invested to start them up, have been created with two main objectives: firstly, to develop innovative technology to improve business competitiveness in the global market, which in turn has an impact on the environment and society; and secondly, to promote the scaling up of hydrogen technologies, from those aimed at generation to those dealing with uses, distribution, storage and transport, and safety,to bring them to an industrial scale.

To make this possible, TECNALIA is collaborating with companies in the hydrogen value chain to drive innovation and progress in this field. It has also received support from the Basque Government through the Azpitek programme, Cervera from the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI by its Spanish acronym) and the PERTE programme for renewable energies, renewable hydrogen and storage (ERHA) of the Institute for Diversification and Saving of Energy (IDAE by its Spanish acronym).

Developments in the hydrogen value chain

More than 50 projects are currently underway on generating, storing, transporting, distributing, using hydrogen and making it safe in this laboratory. The laboratory is equipped to test all available electrolyser and fuel cell technologies in the field of generation. At the same time, TECNALIA is developing technologies such as new-generation electrolysis and membrane reactors for generating green hydrogen at a competitive cost. It is also leading CLEANHYPRO – the largest European electrolyser R&D project in conjunction with 28 other entities. As far as storage is concerned, it is engaged in looking for transport alternatives that can move large quantities of hydrogen over long distances at a competitive cost in a sustainable manner. It is also investigating the compatibility of different materials in contact with hydrogen gas at high pressure for pipelines, storage tanks and salt caverns for underground storage. In the area of safety, the centre is working on developing sensors to detect hydrogen leaks and the associated risk analysis. Moreover, it is looking at advanced hydrogen-based solutions for sustainable mobility, vehicle propulsion systems, and combustion systems applied to other industries such as the steel industry.

This laboratory rounds off the capabilities that TECNALIA has been developing for more than 20 years, working on its own innovative hydrogen technologies, which have given rise to an infrastructure of more than 1,500 square metres that extends across Alava, Gipuzkoa and Bizkaia. These are: the Membranes Laboratory, where membranes are developed for producing and purifying hydrogen; the Surfaces Laboratory, for creating coatings for electrolyser components and hydrogen sensors; the Power Electronics Laboratory, for electrolysers and fuel cells; the Energy Efficiency Laboratory, for technologies to harness energy from hydrogen technologies; the Composites Laboratory, where high-pressure hydrogen storage tanks are developed; the Powertrain for Mobility Laboratory, where hydrogen vehicle propulsion systems are designed; the Hydrogen Combustion Technologies Laboratory, where hydrogen burners and furnaces are tested; and the H2LOOP Laboratory, led by Nortegás, for assessing the compatibility of materials and components in the gas distribution network with mixtures of hydrogen and natural gas.


TECNALIA is the largest applied research and technological development centre in Spain, a European benchmark and member of the Basque Research and Technology Alliance. TECNALIA works with companies and institutions to improve their competitiveness, people’s quality of life and achieve sustainable growth, thanks to a team of more than 1,500 people committed to building a better world through technological research and innovation. This is why TECNALIA’s research has a real impact on society and generates benefits in the form of quality of life and

Its main areas of action are: smart manufacturing, digital transformation, energy transition, sustainable mobility, health and food, urban ecosystem and circular economy. In the latest brand awareness and positioning study carried out by the European Research Survey (ERS) in 2022, TECNALIA tops the list regarding R&D and Innovation brand awareness.