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Austrian Consortium Develops HySnowGroomer: Multifunctional Hydrogen Snow Groomer Concept

By May 20, 2020 6   min read  (1005 words)

May 20, 2020 |

Austrian consortium has been developing a multi-functional hydrogen snow groomer concept in the area of ​​the Green Energy Center Europe in Innsbruck since June 2019.

Innsbruck (OTS) – Taking the climate problem into account, the EU has significantly reduced the pollutant limit values ​​(CO2, nitrogen oxides, etc.) for petrol and diesel vehicles in recent years. The lowering of these limits results in the electrification of the drive systems. Electric drives with hydrogen fuel cells have their future especially where heavy loads have to be transported over long distances, short refueling times are required and high performance is required at low temperatures. In the event of a crisis, the emergency power supply can be ensured with hydrogen fuel cell systems.

Holistic approach
Building on the strategies for climate adaptation and the existing possibilities of hydrogen technology, a consortium consisting of FEN Systems, Kässbohrer Austria, Pongauer Energie Zentrum and Schmidberger Elektroinstallation is pursuing the goal with the “HySnowGroomer” project, the world’s first prototype of a, on behalf of the climate and energy fund to develop a multifunctional hydrogen snow groomer. For this purpose, a “Fuel Cell Electric (FCE) Powertrain” is integrated into a snow groomer, which can be used as an emergency power supply unit in the event of a crisis. The holistic, multifunctional system also includes a mobile hydrogen refueling concept (mobile HRS), which can be used to ensure that the snow groomer is adequately supplied with hydrogen. This system is using green hydrogen, which can be produced from water at any place where it is needed. For this purpose, water is broken down into the gaseous components hydrogen and oxygen in an electrolysis system with the supply of clean electricity from hydropower and photovoltaics. Relevant regional value chains – which are particularly relevant for structurally weak alpine regions – can emerge from this process.

The HySnowGroomer snow groomer, which is filled with green hydrogen, can save up to 400 liters of diesel or approx. 1,100 kg CO2 per day and cover the daily electricity requirements of approx. 100 households in the event of a crisis. This enables a year-round emergency power supply to be set up for remote areas such as quarters and emergency lift operations.

Greening of winter tourism
The HySnowGroomer concept is an environmental compensation measure for ski resorts that protects nature through emission-free and low-noise snow management, CO2-free creation of snow depots in sensitive natural areas and the avoidance of further expansion of alpine diesel and urea depots. In addition, environmentally damaging diesel transports in the exposed mountain areas are eliminated.

Bridge to the green tourism future

The HySnowGroomer project is therefore an important building block for the construction of a bridge to a CO2-free and low-noise energy and tourism future and is an essential contribution to securing Austria’s system leadership in the area of ​​greening winter tourism.

Project status

In the first project phase of the project, which has been running since June 2019, the mobile refueling system (mobile HRS), which is also important for other hydrogen applications, was vigorously developed and an extensive prospect exploration program was carried out at the Austrian cable car operators.

“I was impressed with the enthusiasm with which so many responsible persons from the ropeway industry immediately understood the project idea and with the signing of the Letter of Intents showed their willingness to actively participate in this development. This is again proof that technology and nature have to go hand in hand for Austria’s cable cars, ” says NR Franz Hörl, chairman of the Association of Austrian Cable Cars.

“In the past few years we have developed numerous complementary hydrogen projects which, in the favorable interaction, create a regional hydrogen economy. This approach also accompanies the project in question, in which we deliberately built in a predetermined breaking point to avoid wasting funding. This would have enabled us to abandon a project after the first project phase, if the cable car industry had not given this clear expression of interest in this complex and lengthy hydrogen development project. “,says Ernst Fleischhacker, managing director of the strategy and project development company FEN Systems in Innsbruck, which, as part of the Codex Partnership of the Green Energy Center Europe, is dealing privately with the construction of the bridge to a green sustainability future.

“With our PistenBully 600 E + with diesel-electric drive, we launched a“ green world first ”in 2012. With the PistenBully 600, which has been converted to natural gas, we have already gained relevant experience in the development of a gas-powered snow groomer. In 2019 we presented the PistenBully 100 E, a study on the first 100% electric snow cat. We are currently intensively testing and developing these. The HySnowGroomer project is the next logical step in our development strategy for sustainable vehicles. The cooperation with FEN Systems and the Green Energy Center Europe is particularly beneficial to us: Because a careful project development plan was drawn up here,says Michael Kuhn, head of development at Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug AG, which manufactures special machines and snow groomers with high global market shares and has a subsidiary in Salzburg.

“The HySnowGroomer concept gave us the opportunity to develop a unique refueling system with which we can supply not only snow groomers but also other hydrogen vehicles such as buses and trucks. Our work is already very advanced because the refueling and the logistics behind it are the key to the project in question, ” says Fritz Schmidberger, Managing Director of Schmidberger Elektroinstallations GesmbH, which already has qualified experience in the development and implementation of hydrogen refueling systems .

“It is important to me that with the help of the experts located in the Green Energy Center Europe we can get a sustainable future and crisis preparedness solution for our alpine regions. In the project, we strive to ensure that the HySnowGroomer concept is recognized in Salzburg and then throughout Austria as an environmental compensation measure, from which corresponding contribution margins for the more expensive devices can be generated in the market launch phase, ” says Leo Hutteger, Managing Director of the Pongauer Energie Zentrum and Austria

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