The German Energy Agency, or dena for short, is an independent company in which the federal government owns a 50 percent stake. By its own account, it is a “center of excellence for energy efficiency, renewables and smart energy systems,” although it had focused on centrally controlled supply under the management of its first director, Stephan Kohler. In 2011, attempts were made to include more innovative, decentralized technologies through launching the Power to Gas Strategy Platform alongside partners from science and business. Since then, dena has organized an annual conference on the topic (see Reinventing the Energy Grid). H2-international spoke with the current managing director of dena, Kristina Haverkamp, about power-to-gas and the company’s priorities.
For years, renewables and fuel cells powered by fossil energy sources have been worlds apart, something that is changing – at least when it comes to natural gas. Many companies have realized that there are indeed areas in which both industries could benefit from collaboration. Several large associations have already started to emphasize commonalities instead of differences, especially regarding energy storage.
Since spring, the sun has been shining in Jülich at the push of a button and 10,000 times brighter than normal. It is in this town in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia that the German Aerospace Center, DLR, inaugurated its Synlight system comprised of 149 high-output lights that can simulate concentrated solar power.
Intersolar Europe is inching closer to becoming an energy storage platform. It was the fourth time that Munich’s trade show on solar energy ran in parallel to the ees Europe – with 254 exhibitors on 17,500 m2 Europe’s most popular trade fair about batteries and energy storage, according to its organizers. Starting next year, the show will have two new pillars, Power2Drive for electric transportation and charging infrastructures and EM Power for smart energy production.
On July 6, 2017, the same date as the 5th Annual Hydrogen Day, the German Aerospace Center, DLR, broke ground for the H2ORIZON project. Planning took seven years (see October 2016 issue of H2-international) – now, the objective is to get the first hydrogen station in Lampoldshausen up and running before the end of 2018.
I’ve been following the hydrogen and fuel cell industry for 20 years. In 1997, you couldn’t even call it a niche market. Back then, many engineers didn’t know the term “fuel cell” existed at all and hydrogen was just another element of the periodic table. Only a handful of companies were tinkering with metal hydride storage or phosphoric acid fuel cells. Within a few years, the technology became the latest development everyone in the automotive and heating industry was pinning their hopes on. But nothing came of the ambitious plans businesses were announcing. Even years later, the situation hadn’t changed.
Between 2013 and 2016, HZwei – and later also H2-international – provided readers with regular, detailed updates on the activities of the Electromobility Showcase program. The 145 projects that were part of this program were accompanied by research and monitoring to coordinate, analyze and publish results and have led to a final report consisting of 322 pages.
Racing around the track in small-size H2 cars might look like fun, but it has a serious purpose. An event like this is designed to impart crucial engineering know-how, prompt design ideas, solve technical issues, encourage improvisation and, most of all, promote deep immersion in a new technology. This and much more is being offered at competing events such as the Shell Eco-marathon and the Formula Student.
The German Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association, DWV, is committed to helping achieve equal treatment of renewable electricity-based fuel sources to that of biofuels under the law. In a recently published paper, it argues in typical German bureaucratese that hydrogen offered more advantages and fewer drawbacks than biogenic fuels and should at least be treated in the same way.
Formerly known as Next Energy, the research institution based in Oldenburg, Germany, is now part of the German Aerospace Center, DLR, and has been renamed Institute of Networked Energy Systems (DLR-VE, see Next Energy as New DLR Location). On June 28, DLR’s council approved the integration of the institute, which is said to be continuing its progress in high-quality work and complementing the DLR portfolio, mainly in energy research.