On Feb. 7, 2018, the DWV, also known as the German Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association, held an extraordinary general meeting in Berlin. During this meeting, it was decided that the group would be joining forces with the BVES, that is, the German Energy Storage Association, and possibly also with the DVGW, the German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water, to create a new company to better coordinate the introduction of new hydrogen technologies.
The stated aim was to get hydrogen faster onto energy markets. The DWV was said to have dropped its original idea of hiring a full-time CEO, as it would have put a strain on the budget of the small but hard-working association. Instead, it decided on founding a GmbH, the German counterpart of an LLC in the United States. The DWV and the BVES would both retain their status as non-profit organizations, but commercial transactions would be handled by the new company.
The special meeting had been announced, on rather short notice, in the January issue of the DWV member magazine. Management had been discussing a professionalization of the association for years but had made little progress in implementing changes. Barely over 30 people found their way to the Siemens Forum in Berlin for the meeting, but the company representatives who did had been given the powers to decide on the way forward. After extensive discussion, there was a clear majority in favor of establishing a jointly operated GmbH. According to initial plans, the company would have about half a dozen employees and an annual budget in the mid-six figures. Since preliminary talks have reportedly gone well, the board members are said to be now fervently working out the details among themselves.
Werner Diwald, chair of the DWV, said, “Hydrogen is undoubtedly one of the keys to achieving the clean energy transformation.” He added that the BVES, DWV and DVGW had not been the only ones coming to that conclusion. The CDU, CSU and SPD, Germany’s major political parties, had done the same in their negotiations about a new coalition government.