Monday, October 13, 2014

Building a Fuel Cell Infrastructure in Germany

Automobile manufacturer Daimler and gases and engineering company The Linde Group will team up with oil and gas companies TOTAL, OMV, Avia and Hoyer this year to significantly increase the number of hydrogen fuelling stations in Germany. To this end, the two companies are investing around EUR 10 million in ten fuelling stations each. On 29 September, the first of the Daimler- and Linde-initiated public fuelling stations for fuel-cell vehicles was officially opened at a TOTAL multi-energy fuelling station on Jaff├ęstrasse in Berlin-Charlottenburg. The following locations have been earmarked for additional stations by the end of 2015:
TOTAL:
  • Geiselwind, Bavaria, on the A3
  • Fellbach, Stuttgart region
  • Ulm
  • Karlsruhe
  • Neuruppin, Brandenburg, on the A24
  • Cologne-Bonn Airport
  • Berlin city centre (upgrade of the existing fuelling station at Holzmarktstrasse)
OMV:
  • Greater Munich area
  • Greater Nuremberg area
  • Greater Stuttgart area
AVIA:
  • Stuttgart-East
Hoyer:
  • Leipzig, in the vicinity of the A14
“We are pleased to be driving this expansion of Germany’s H2 fuelling network,” comments Dr Andreas Opfermann, Head of Clean Energy & Innovation Management at Linde. “We are making a valuable contribution to the successful commercialisation of fuel-cell vehicles while supporting initiatives like the Clean Energy Partnership (CEP) and ‘H2 Mobility’.”
“There is no question that fuel-cell technology is reaching maturity. From 2017, we are planning to bring competitively priced fuel-cell vehicles to market. So now is the time to build a nationwide fuelling infrastructure. The aim is to enable motorists to reach any destination in Germany in their hydrogen-fuelled vehicles. This initiative is a huge step forward on the journey to a truly nationwide H2 network,” states Professor Herbert Kohler, Vice President Group Research & Sustainability and Chief Environmental Officer at Daimler AG.
Negotiations on the details and construction of the remaining seven refuelling locations with additional partners are at an advanced stage. The National Organisation Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW) is supporting the project as part of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology National Innovation Programme (NIP).
Linde already secures half of the hydrogen for existing CEP fuelling stations from “green” sources, and it will power the 20 new stations with fully regenerative hydrogen. The gas is obtained from crude glycerol – a by-product of biodiesel production – at a dedicated pilot plant at Linde’s gases centre in Leuna. The certified green hydrogen obtained in this way produces far fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional methods. Linde also has other sustainable sources at its disposal like bio natural gas and water electrolysis using wind-generated electricity, as part of the ‘H2BER’ project for example.
From 2017, Daimler AG plans to bring mass-produced competitively priced fuel-cell electric vehicles to market. To speed up technology optimisation and minimise investment costs, the company formed an alliance with Ford and Nissan at the start of 2013 for the joint development of a drive concept. Experts reckon that in 2018, well over ten thousand fuel-cell vehicles will populate European roads.
By the end of 2015, the number of Hfuelling stations supporting this growing fleet in Germany is set to reach 50 with the support of the Federal Ministry for Transport along with partner companies and organisations (see http://www.now-gmbh.de/en/presse-aktuelles/2014/50-h2-refuelling-stations.html). Furthermore, the ‘H2 Mobility’ initiative, which Daimler, Linde, TOTAL and OMV are also part of, agreed last year on a detailed plan of action to expand the network to around 400 stations by 2023.
In July this year, Linde opened the world’s first small-scale production facility for hydrogen fuelling stations in Vienna.

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