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Germany: VDI and VDE Demand Equal Promotion of Fuel Cell and Battery Vehicles

By June 8, 2019 4   min read  (622 words)

June 8, 2019 |

Hydrogen and Plug in Electrics VDE report

The new VDI / VDE study “Fuel Cell for the Electromobility of Tomorrow” examines both technologies according to relevant technical, ecological and economic aspects. The associations criticize the one-sided concentration on battery vehicles. 

Electromobility is making an important contribution to the achievement of the environmental and climate policy objectives of the Paris Convention. From the point of view of the VDI and the VDE, however, the current discussion focuses too much on battery vehicles. These alone are not enough to achieve the federal government’s energy and environmental goals. The new VDI / VDE study “Fuel Cell and Battery Vehicles” shows that fuel cell-based electromobility is not only a significant step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but is much easier to implement.

“Fuel cell vehicles are a necessary element for the e-mobility of tomorrow. The fuel hydrogen can be produced, stored and transported flexibly from renewable energies, “says Martin Pokojski. Chairman of the VDI / VDE Technical Committee “Hydrogen and Fuel Cells”. He is co-author of the study, which evaluates the two technologies according to relevant technical, environmental and economic aspects. Rather than just promoting one technology, politics and economics should rather rely on both systems.

Advantage fuel cell

Compared to battery vehicles (BEV) fuel cell vehicles (FCEV) with several advantages: They achieve significantly easier and more cost-effective long ranges, their refueling times are comparable to today’s standard for gasoline or diesel and significantly higher payloads are possible. “An advantage of hydrogen technology is also its easier implementation, as existing structures can be used and existing gas stations can be expanded accordingly,” explains Dr. med. Andreas Schamel, co-author of the VDI / VDE study. Schamel continued: “Infrastructure investment is lower for BEV with low market penetration than for FCEV. But the picture turns at a larger market penetration.

Without renewable energy, no CO2 reduction

However, the desired reduction in CO2 emissions is achieved only if the electricity for charging the battery and the production of hydrogen comes from renewable sources. Prof. Dr. Angelika Heinzel from the Center for Fuel Cell Technology in Duisburg and co-author of the VDI / VDE study: “In addition, it is relevant how the raw materials are extracted and how the batteries and fuel cells are produced. Careful analysis of energy consumption and CO2 emissions throughout the life cycle and an increase in the recycling rate are also essential. Both technologies require raw materials that are not available indefinitely. ”

Competitive advantage through fuel cell

In addition to the energy efficiency of the powertrain and the raw material requirements of the battery and the fuel cell, Heinzel has an eye on the resource and space requirements for the required infrastructures – such as power lines and charging stations, gas pipelines and hydrogen refueling stations. “Both technologies will be introduced in segments of the mobility sector in the future: the fuel cell vehicles initially in fleet vehicles and long-range vehicles. In contrast to battery production, the fuel cell has to overcome the hurdle to mass production, which can be a great opportunity for German manufacturers. ”

Incentive systems and infrastructure development necessary

The authors of the study agree: the federal government must quickly create incentive systems and build infrastructures for fuel cell and battery vehicles as well. “These include the acceleration of the market ramp-up of electric vehicles through the conversion of vehicle fleets, the expansion of the hydrogen infrastructure through the implementation of the nationwide uniformly planned 400 hydrogen refueling stations and the inclusion of the hydrogen source in the cross-sector long-term strategy for a secure energy supply. And not least for our competitiveness, we need a timely development of production facilities for fuel cells and batteries in Germany. For this, the policy must create suitable framework conditions, “Pokojski is sure.

Link to Study- German Only 

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