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H2 Mobility initiative: Leading industrial companies agree on an action plan for the construction of a hydrogen refuelling network in Germany

H2Mobility Partners

Hydrogen refuelling network to grow to about 400 filling stations by 2023

Precondition for the market success of fuel cell powered electric vehicles initiated

Overall investment of around €350 million planned

Development plan represents the benchmark at international level

The six partners in the “H2 Mobility” initiative – Air Liquide, Daimler, Linde, OMV, Shell and Total – have set up upon a specific action plan for the construction of a nationwide hydrogen refuelling network for fuel cell powered electric vehicles. By the year 2023 the current network of 15 filling stations in Germany’s public hydrogen infrastructure shall be expanded to about 400 H2 filling stations. As a first step the deployment of 100 hydrogen stations in Germany over the next 4 years is intended. This would ensure a need-related supply for fuel cell powered electric vehicles to be introduced into the market in the next years. An agreement in principle has been signed by representatives of all the partners involved.

In addition to plans for a nationwide filling station network, the agreement includes the principles for the procurement and distribution of the necessary hydrogen and a request for support to the German Federal Government. Following the foundation of a joint venture (subject to necessary regulatory approvals), gradual expansion of the national filling station network will commence next year. This means that an H2 supply suitable for everyday use shall be created not only for densely populated areas and main traffic arteries, but also for rural areas. The objective is to offer an H2 station at least every 90 kilometres of motorway between densely populated areas. According to this plan in metropolitan areas, drivers of fuel cell powered vehicles will have at least 10 hydrogen refuelling stations available each from 2023. Thus zero tailpipe emission H2-mobility is becoming increasingly attractive for customers. The “H2 Mobility” initiative expects that a total investment of around €350 million will be required for this future-oriented infrastructure project.

The launch of fuel cell powered production vehicles on the German market has been announced by first manufacturers for 2015. In addition to attractive procurement and operating costs for the vehicles, a need-related number of H2 filling stations is one of the major preconditions for market success. Accordingly the planned “H2 Mobility” joint venture will work closely together with the automobile industry.

Particularly in view of the high costs of such innovative technology, advances in hydrogen and fuel cell technology are at least as important. Continuation of the innovation and research activities in this field which are envisaged in the mobility and fuel strategy of the German Federal Government plays a decisive role in this respect. In particular the continuation of the “National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology” (NIP) represents the necessary support for the market establishment.

Fuel cell powered electric vehicles can make a considerable contribution to establishing Germany as the lead market for sustainable mobility solutions and efficient technologies. This is because the great advantage of this drive technology lies in the significant reduction of CO2 emissions. This innovative technology also offers great potential for strengthening Germany as an industrial location. The challenges associated with such a system change aimed at a zero-emission transport sector were already addressed at a very early stage with the formation of the inter-industry “H2 Mobility” initiative in Berlin in 2009.

The Clean Energy Partnership (CEP) with its members* and others** welcome the infrastructure development. With the support of the federal government the CEP tests fuel cell electric vehicles and their refuelling. The interface to the federal government in both cases is the National Organization for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW).

*Members of the CEP: Air Liquide, BMW, Daimler, EnBW, Ford, GM/Opel, Hamburger Hochbahn, Honda, Hyundai, Linde, Shell, Siemens, Total, Toyota, Vattenfall Europe and Volkswagen **Others: Nissan and Intelligent Energy

Statements of the partners involved:

Thomas Pfützenreuter, Managing Director of AIR LIQUIDE Deutschland Gmb H:

“The signature of this agreement is a decisive step towards the construction of a network of hydrogen stations in Germany. Air Liquide is proud to take an active part in the German “H2Mobility” initiative which aims to substantially contribute to the national ambitious objectives for electro-mobility.As an expert of the entire hydrogen energy chain including production and hydrogen filling stations, Air Liquide is actively involved in allowing the widespread use of hydrogen as a clean energy source. Hydrogen energy is an innovative solution that offers a response in the short-term to the challenges of sustainable mobility thus contributing to the preservation of the environment.”

Professor Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development:

“Hydrogen is the most common element in the Universe. However, filling stations for this environmentally friendly alternative fuel are still scarce. The “H2 Mobility” initiative wants to change this. By 2023 there should be more hydrogen filling stations in Germany, than there are conventional petrol stations along the Autobahns today. With this, we create step by step a comprehensive infrastructure for the everyday use of fuel cell technology.”

Professor Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Reitzle, Chief Executive Officer of Linde AG:

“Linde has been a pioneer in the further development of hydrogen technology for many years. Especially with respect to the series production of hydrogen refuelling stations, we have achieved major advances over the last few years. The time is now right to roll out this environmentally friendly technology on a nationwide basis.”

Dr. Gerhard Roiss, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of OMV AG:

„Achieving the EU’s Energy Roadmap goals will only be possible with innovative new technologies. Hydrogen is set to also play a key role in the way we get around in the future. Setting up the infrastructure for hydrogen filling stations is our contribution to a future of emission-free motoring.”

Peter Blauwhoff, Chief Executive Officer German Shell Holding:

“Shell already operates a network of hydrogen filling stations based on the very latest technology in Germany and California – including the world’s largest H2filling station in Berlin. Following the foundation of the joint venture, Shell will play a significant role in the development of the future H2 retail station networkin Germany. Hydrogen is an important component for the mobility of the future.”

Hans-Christian Gützkow, Chairman of TOTAL Germany:

“Out of the 15 hydrogen refuelling stations existing in Germany today, we already run five – another TOTAL multi-energy-station will start running nearby Berlin’s future airport until the end of the year. We will continue contributing to the infrastructure’s expansion! TOTAL reinforces its pioneering role whilst building up the hydrogen network in Germany and in terms of research when it comes to produce green hydrogen from renewable sources!”

October 1, 2013 - 12:04 PM No Comments

McPhy Energy premieres world’s first industrial system coupling electrolysis and solid hydrogen storage


La Motte-Fanjas, France McPhy Energy, a leading developer and manufacturer of solid state hydrogen storage, presented today the world’s first system coupling an industrial-scale hydrogen generator with a 100 kg solid hydrogen storage unit. The demonstration, which showed the results of the first phase of the French PUSHY program, was given at the company’s headquarters in La Motte-Fanjas, in the department of the Drome, France. While such systems enable the supply of onsite hydrogen for industry, they also mark a world premiere in the transition to renewable energies, enabling approaches such as “power-to-gas” and hydrogen mobility to become both technical and commercial realities.

The McPhy Energy technology for storing hydrogen in the form of hydrides is a safe, low-pressure, high-density solution.

The generator, which produces hydrogen through the electrolysis of water, is manufactured by McPhy Italy and powered by 60 KW of electricity from the local electrical grid. The demonstrator shown today can produce 12m3 of hydrogen per hour. The gas is then stored in McPhy’s HDS 100 system, which is based on magnesium hydride technology developed and manufactured by McPhy Energy in La Motte-Fanjas, France.

The system inaugurates the first commercial product line for onsite industrial hydrogen users worldwide.  This first model, which has a storage capacity of 100 kg (for an energy content of 3.3 MWh), is the first in a commercial range reaching up to 500 kg of stored hydrogen (16.5 MWh).

It enables traditional hydrogen logistics (high-pressure delivery) to be replaced with production that is located at the point of use and aligned with demand. This ambitious project, funded by BPI France (formerly OSEO/ISI) was developed in an industrial consortium lead by McPhy Energy, with the CEA (the French Atomic & Alternative Energy Agency) and the company WH2.

“The pilot presented today at our manufacturing site in La Motte-Fanjas is the first deliverable of the PUSHY project. In 2014, it will be followed by a demonstration of hydrogen production by hydroelectric energy, for the storage and exploitation of renewable energies in France as in Europe and across the globe,” said Pascal Mauberger, CEO of McPhy Energy.  “With the deployment of renewable energies, storage requirements are substantial, and solutions are needed to respond to those needs.  That is the objective of this demonstrator model, which marks the beginning of a complete line of groundbreaking products.”

October 1, 2013 - 7:39 AM No Comments

Western Hydrogen Achieves Major Milestone: Produces First Hydrogen from New Pilot Plant

CALGARY, ALBERTA– - Western Hydrogen Limited has reached a major milestone in their piloting of an innovative hydrogen production technology called Molten Salt Gasification (MSG). On September 5, 2013 the first production of hydrogen was achieved from the company’s new pilot plant in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta.

“By supporting advanced research and technology, our Government is investing in Canadian prosperity and a cleaner environment,” said the Honourable Joe Oliver, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources. “Today’s milestone demonstrates how these investments are successfully bringing innovative clean technologies from concept to reality.”

“First Hydrogen is a significant milestone in the development of MSG technology since it’s our first continuous hydrogen production outside of the lab,” said Neil Camarta, Chief Executive Officer of Western Hydrogen. Following six years of extensive testing at the Idaho National Laboratory, the pilot plant was constructed to demonstrate the technology’s reliability in a large scale production facility.

“As a key ingredient to convert oil sands bitumen into synthetic crude, hydrogen is an important component to Canada’s sustainable and prosperous future,” said Vicky Sharpe, President and CEO of Sustainable Development Technology Canada, which contributes funding to the project. “The innovative MSG technology reduces the overall footprint of oil sands production, something producers are striving for and consumers and export markets are increasingly demanding.”

The MSG process uses a combination of molten sodium salts (sodium carbonate and sodium hydroxide) to convert a carbon feedstock and water into hydrogen. The technology allows the production of high-pressure hydrogen without the need for compression and can use a variety of feedstocks, including renewables.

“High pressure and the favourable chemical kinetics of the reactions allow for the use of small reactors to generate large volumes of hydrogen continuously,” Camarta explains. “The very high energy efficiency of the process results in a lower unit cost for the hydrogen produced and lower CO2 emissions overall.”

By commercializing the Molten Salt Gasification process, Western Hydrogen believes it can create significant benefits for hydrogen users, especially those in the hydrogen-intensive oil sands business. Oil sands operators use Steam Methane Reforming (SMR) to produce hydrogen from natural gas. The MSG process can produce high pressure hydrogen from natural gas but it can also be switched to other feedstocks, such as petroleum coke or renewables, at a marginal cost.

“The new pilot plant will be used to prove the competitive advantages of the MSG technology — and particularly the ability to run on different feedstocks with the same plant. You simply can’t do that with an SMR.”

Western Hydrogen is also targeting the renewable energy market. Countries such as Germany, Japan, Korea and the USA are currently developing low carbon “hydrogen economies” reliant on rapidly advancing fuel cell technologies.

After testing on a range of fossil fuels, the MSG pilot plant will be switched to a renewable feedstock and integrated with fuel cells to demonstrate the ability to produce renewable power. The large-scale MSG pilot plant is already “right-sized” for the renewable energy market making rapid roll-out possible.

“As a result of the successful first run, Western Hydrogen will be accelerating the development and commercialization of the MSG technology and engaging current and prospective partners, stakeholders and investors to assist in its commercialization,” says Camarta.

Western Hydrogen Limited achieved the first hydrogen milestone in cooperation with the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), Aux Sable Canada and Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC). “This group has supported the development of the MSG technology over the past 6 years,” says Camarta. “The Western Hydrogen team looks forward to continued work with our consortium partners as we continue towards the goal of commercializing Molten Salt Gasification.”

About Western Hydrogen Limited

Western Hydrogen Limited is a privately owned company, formed in 2006. The company has exclusive rights to the Molten Salt Gasification (MSG) technology, which was developed and patented by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory.

About SDTC

On behalf of the Government of Canada, Sustainable Development Technology Canada helps commercialize Canadian clean technologies, readying them for growth and export markets. With a portfolio of companies under management valued at more than $2 billion, SDTC is positioning cleantech as a driver of jobs, productivity and economic prosperity.

SDTC operates two funds aimed at the development and demonstration of innovative technological solutions. The SD Tech Fund™ supports projects that address climate change, air quality, clean water, and clean soil. The NextGen Biofuels Fund™ supports the establishment of first-of-kind large demonstration-scale facilities for the production of next-generation renewable fuels.

October 1, 2013 - 4:52 AM No Comments

California Commits to at Least 100 Hydrogen Fueling Stations to Support Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Market Launch

Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 8 into law, extending the programs that accelerate the turnover of older vehicles and equipment and invest in the development and deployment of advanced technologies that are necessary to achieve the California’s air quality, climate, and energy goals until January 1, 2024. The bill includes a provision to fund at least 100 hydrogen stations with a commitment of up to $20 million a year from the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program.

Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-Cell refueling with hydrogen

“The technology is here and automakers are ready,” said Catherine Dunwoody, executive director of the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP).  “Before they can sell or lease fuel cell electric vehicles, a much larger fueling infrastructure must be in place.”

“One of the biggest obstacles to introducing fuel cell electric vehicles was the lack of fueling certainty,” said Professor Dan Sperling, CaFCP Chair and CARB Board member. Dr. Sperling is also the founder and director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis.  “No more. The passage of AB 8 sends a clear signal to automakers, consumers and others that California will launch a market for FCEVs.”

“Automakers have made and are making significant investments in fuel cell electric vehicles,,” said Robert Bienenfeld, assistant vice president, environment and energy strategy for the Honda Motor Company and CaFCP vice chair. “California’s planned investments in hydrogen refueling will be a key enabler to create this market.”

Assembly Bill 8 was supported by a broad range of 80-plus stakeholders, led by the American Lung Association, CALSTART and California Air Pollution Control Officers Association (CAPCOA).

October 1, 2013 - 4:35 AM No Comments