National Strategy, Green Deal and Covid-19

Now that’s what you call luck. Right around the editorial deadline of our sister magazine HZwei, the German government debated, passed and presented its strategy to support the hydrogen and fuel cell industry.

Five federal ministries were involved in drafting the strategy. Their compromise agreement sets a 2030 target of “only” 5 gigawatts in installed electrolyzer capacity, not 10, as the German science minister Anja Karliczek strongly proposed.

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How fuel cell membranes degrade

test setup
Test setup, © Fraunhofer ISE

Understanding how the presence of cations causes polymer electrolyte membranes to degrade is important to advancing PEM research. Fraunhofer ISE has been focused on analyzing various types of cations for their impact on perfluorosulfonic acid (PFSA) membranes. This analysis is significant in understanding the catalytic effect individual cations have on forming radicals that attack PFSA polymers. How chemical stable these polymers are was investigated using Fenton’s reaction.

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Enapter probes equity crowdfunding

Taking an innovative approach to raising fresh capital, Enapter, an electrolyzer manufacturer based in Pisa, Italy, has launched an equity crowdfunding campaign. In late March, it began offering shares for only a few hundred euros, promising investors dividend payments over a period of five years. Germany’s financial services regulator BaFin greenlighted the investment strategy in spring, the company said.

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Hydrogen-exporting countries vie for top spot

Karliczek
Anja Karliczek, © Hans-Joachim Rickel, BMBF

A key objective in Germany’s hydrogen strategy is to create international partnerships with green hydrogen exporters. To this end, Gerd Müller, the German minister for international development, recently signed a cooperation agreement with one of the Maghreb countries, announcing: “Together with Morocco, we are developing the first industrial system to generate green hydrogen in Africa.

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OGE co-founds evety

Altfeld
Klaus Altfeld, © evety

In late May, transmission network operator Open Grid Europe (OGE) formed a joint venture with TÜV Süd and Horváth & Partners to “provide a path to a hydrogen economy.” During the startup online video call, the united front of chief executives confirmed their intention to explore new markets and bring their expert knowledge in hydrogen technology to industrial, logistics and transportation companies to allow them to draw on this valuable resource.

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Green hydrogen from biogas

electricity costs
Levelized Cost of Electricity (Cent/kWh)

Hydrogen is considered the ideal raw material for a sustainable energy market transformation. However, some questions still await answers. Where will we get our hydrogen? Will we use the gray, blue, turquoise or green variant in the distant and not-so-distant future? Green hydrogen is produced using renewable energy sources and often generated via water electrolysis.

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A hydrogen plant to fuel Los Angeles

coal plant
Coal plant in Utah, © LADWP

When it comes to electricity generated from pure hydrogen, there’s good news: The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has reached an agreement with authorities in Utah to buy much of the output from the Intermountain Power Project, which will produce green hydrogen from wind and solar.

All the signs point in the right direction for this to work: For starters, Los Angeles is going all-green by 2045 and it is already getting some of its electricity from this Utah-based 1,800-megawatt coal power plant.

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To each their own hydrogen strategy

Zukunftspakt

Once again, the two major German political parties lock horns over the national hydrogen strategy, increasing pressure on the governing coalition to decide before the summer recess. In early May, twelve MPs from the Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) circulated a statement demanding a rapid escalation in renewable hydrogen facilities and calling for new partnerships with African countries.
Hot on the CDU’s heels, the Social Democrats (SPD) issued their version, pressing for a more ambitious hydrogen strategy and faster capacity additions.

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Germany’s NGO hydrogen champions

H2Süd Logo

Non-profit organizations aiming to establish a hydrogen economy are sprouting up all over Germany. The first was founded in Hamburg in 1989. HyCologne in the Rhineland region followed in 2007, and H2BX in Bremerhaven in 2016. Newcomers are the Wasserstoffenergiecluster Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and H2 Süd in southern Germany.

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