Ten years ago, Hydrogeit Verlag printed its first issue of the HZwei magazine – the German counterpart of H2-international. Entitled “H2Tec” in 2000, the Magazine for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells had been published for six years prior under SunMedia before the people responsible for it intended to go their separate ways – because the industry hadn’t advanced as quickly as they had expected.
What furthered my interest in hydrogen was a presentation in 1989 by Joachim Gretz, the head of the EU’s Joint Research Center in Ispra, Italy, about the then running Quebec project. I had already been interested in the technology many years prior to that event: I can still remember clearly how the board chair of German Shell, Johannes Welbergen, told me during a conversation that H2 was the future for which we still had to wait
At the beginning of this year, Joi Scientific became the latest newcomer competition in the H2 industry. Shortly after, the company announced that it had successfully completed its first round of funding. “Joi Scientific’s Hydrogen 2.0 technology is a new approach to make hydrogen a practical, clean and cost-competitive energy source. It is no longer just an energy carrier,” CEO Traver Kennedy said.
The conference call of Canadian-based Ballard Power Systems about the latest figures from the last quarter of 2015 – and consequentially, for all of last year – revealed some very intriguing news, comments and plans for the future. I will refrain from discussing the figures (or losses posted) and interpreting them (how the individual business fields developed). Instead, I will focus on the excellent outlook
The losses of the US-based company increased during the last quarter of 2015 to USD 320 million. Over the entire year, they added up to around USD 980 million. Whether you choose GAAP (the default rulebook) or the visually more enticing non-GAAP accounting standards (with the latter, the result per share seems to improve “cosmetically”) is not the main question. The larger issue is whether the trend points to a balanced result or even a profit. That was now the plan for 2016, as CEO Elon Musk announced.
A former state secretary with the German health ministry succeeds a former state secretary for the chancellor – albeit not politically but in a lobby group. Hildegard Müller, who became a member of the German parliament in 2002 and worked closely with Chancellor Angela Merkel between 2005 and 2008, stepped down from her post as chair of the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) at the end of January this year.
Is that already the market for fuel cell heating systems which everyone has worked toward for so long? No, not quite, because the Technology Rollout Program (TEP) has not yet come into force. And as long as neither manufacturers nor customers have some kind of planning security, nothing will happen. That much became clear during the SHK Essen in Germany. But TEP could apparently become a reality this summer
“Through the first six weeks of this year alone, we received more requests than during all of 2015,” Andreas Frömmel from German FuelCell Energy Solutions reported during the E-world 2016. That should come as no surprise: Large-scale fuel cell plants have gained in popularity ever since the German parliament amended the CHP Act at the end of last year and put the transition rules on paper (see New Rule for Fuel Cell Heating Systems). Plants ordered until the end of 2016 and built by the end of 2017 can still receive the full CHP benefits as per the CHP Act from 2012 – independently of their power output. This section of the law will benefit even megawatt-size power plants.
Japanese Fuji Electric bought up N2telligence, based in Wismar, Germany, at the beginning of this year. The company, which had introduced several TriGeneration and QuattroGeneration modules in collaboration with its Japanese partner (see ZBT system), announced in a press release that Fuji Electric Europe had acquired a majority stake (70%) in N2telligence on Jan. 11, 2016. The company name was subsequently renamed to Fuji N2telligence.
At the beginning of this year, the German Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association had its first-ever H2 economic forum in the German capital. On Feb. 18, 2016, around 50 representatives from politics and business were invited to the Dutch embassy in Berlin to discuss green hydrogen opportunities with Germany’s federal environment minister, Barbara Hendricks.