Hydrogen is the key

Bernd Buchholz, economy minister, Schleswig-Holstein.

It’s been a long time since things were moving forward at the pace they have been in recent months. And it has been just as long since the mood was that optimistic in the energy sector. Wherever you look, you feel as if a new chapter has begun. It certainly feels a lot different than past times of doom and gloom in the fuel cell and hydrogen industry.

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How to reshape the energy sector

Svenja Schulze, 11. Kommunale Klimakonferenz.
Svenja Schulze, 11. Kommunale Klimakonferenz, © BMU

In the fall of 2018, the German government announced it would provide about EUR 6.4 billion between 2018 and 2022 under its 7th Energy Research Program. This is around 45 percent more than what it allocated to the prior program from 2013 through 2017. The new budget reportedly includes funds for living laboratories and projects involving fuel cells, energy storage, hydrogen technologies and energy systems integration.

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Broad support for Efficiency First

Logos of German political parties
Logos of German political parties.

The idea of using hydrogen as energy storage entered the political mainstream a long time ago. The coalition agreement between the Christian and the Social Democrats in Germany includes several direct references to hydrogen and fuel cells, while a few other parties have made the technologies part of their platforms as well.

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Shortage of fuel cell buses

Sora, the name of the bus shown in the photo, is an acronym standing for sky, ocean, river and air
Sora, the name of the bus shown in the photo, is an acronym standing for sky, ocean, river and air, © Toyota

In many communities, electric buses have been the latest innovation to grab the attention of passengers and mayors alike. While passengers are just thrilled about the quiet and smooth ride, mass transit companies are looking for businesses that can deliver these types of vehicles, especially fuel cell ones, as quickly as possible. However, few options are for sale, despite a boost in demand.

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State government to promote hydrogen

Jörg Steinbach, Minister for economy and energy, Brandenburg
Jörg Steinbach, Minister for economy and energy, Brandenburg

Among all German states, Brandenburg has had the most trouble striking the right balance between its fossil and renewable sources of energy. Many jobs in the south of state depend on lignite mining, while large wind farms have been put up in the north and around Berlin. The state government, a coalition of The Left and the SPD, has been trying for years to find an equitable solution to its very own energy dilemma.

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Fuel cell industry moves at rapid speed

Cover Industry Review 2018
Cover Industry Review 2018, © E4tech

January saw the publication of the Fuel Cell Industry Review 2018, including market figures and analyses. The review was created by the team of E4tech, which has contacted fuel cell companies once a year since 2014 to provide an independent overview of the fuel cell market based on aggregated shipment numbers. Below are some excerpts from its report.

In 2018, fuel cell system sales continued to grow. In all, companies shipped 74,000 systems, around 4,000 more than in 2017.

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HyLaw identifies barriers to growth

HyLaw partners from 23 european countries.
HyLaw partners, ©HyLaw

The aim of the EU-funded HyLaw project is to promote the launch of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies by giving stakeholders a detailed overview of current regulations and showing political decision makers where the sector is faced with legal barriers to growth. Coordinated by Hydrogen Europe, it is the EU’s first project that focuses on regulatory issues concerning hydrogen production and sale.

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How to optimize power-to-gas

Creating synthetic methane by using electricity produced from renewable sources of energy or non-fossil carbon.
Creating synthetic methane by using electricity produced from renewable sources of energy or non-fossil carbon, © MethQuest

The MethQuest project investigates the creation of methane from renewable sources of energy and its use in stationary systems and vehicles by studying the entire value chain of the gas. This holistic approach promises technological advances in areas that range from production and methods such as electrolysis to the required infrastructure and end use of the gas.

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What exactly is power-to-X?

Illustration of power-to-X processes, products and applications
Illustration of power-to-X processes, products and applications, © WZB

Efforts to transform the energy sector have so far focused on increasing renewable generation capacity to lay the foundation for a future energy system. This has made the use of electricity in the heat and transportation markets all the more important, since electric power is an efficient means of generating and using renewable sources of energy.

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