The task of politics is to create an environment in which society and the economy can thrive. That is, if there is consensus about which direction to take. In democracies, this means much to debate and argue about. In doing so, people often find a solution that many can get behind. What can be very irritating, however, is when a handful of politicians start ignoring consensus and do what they think is best over the objections of most citizens and almost all scientists.
In mid-May, an AVX Corp. subsidiary, AVX Interconnect Europe, signed a EUR 12.5 million agreement to acquire Kumatec Sondermaschinenbau & Kunststoffverarbeitung, a German plastic components manufacturer based in Neuhaus-Schierschnitz, near Coburg. As a U.S. supplier of advanced electronic parts, interconnect solutions and sensor products, AVX bought Kumatec to benefit from the latter’s expertise in automation.
To improve quality of life, a growing number of local councils have set up zones for environmental protection and noise reduction and have discussed driving bans to clean up the air in cities and metropolitan areas. One consequence of their efforts has been a tightening of emission regulations regarding community vehicles and public equipment. In response, researchers conceived a project named ELAAN to build an electric engine that is powered by fuel cells and batteries.
At first, Daimler announced that it wanted to use fuel cells in light commercial vehicles. However, a few days later, news broke that the automaker planned to offer buses equipped with the technology as well, provided tests in a reasonable amount of time between 2020 and 2022 are successful. The decision is exemplary of the latest trend in the hydrogen and fuel cell industry to refocus efforts on commercial transportation.
Fuel cells are regarded as easy-to-handle, high-performance devices. When used in electric vehicles, they are a viable alternative to the battery-only option. They can be refueled in just a few minutes, offer a high range, and remain operational even in low-temperature settings. Plus, they are closely linked to renewable sources of energy. As hydrogen is en route to becoming the main method for storing renewable electricity
The Hyundai Motor Group, based in South Korea, is one of few automakers that offer fuel cell vehicles on the market. In mid-June, it announced that it would support Audi’s work in the field and both corporations have since signed an agreement about cross-licensing patents. The contract expressly mentions the group companies that are part of the endeavor.
Nearly every week in August, a new hydrogen station came online somewhere in Germany. The H2.Live map by H2 Mobility showed fueling pumps being added in Weiterstadt, Ratingen, Munich (on Verdistrasse) and Stuhr-Großmackenstedt at the Stuhr autobahn interchange near Bremen. There are five commercial hydrogen fueling stations up and running in the state of Hesse alone. The most recent addition was a pump at the SVG truck stop Lohfeldener Rüssel near Kassel
Every two years, the H2Congress takes place in North Rhine-Westphalia’s state office in Berlin. And if there is one technology that has grown in popularity throughout past conferences, it was hydrogen. So it seems only fitting that this year’s event, held June 6 and 7, placed the emphasis on electrolysis and power-to-gas, that is, the economic implications of hydrogen use in transportation and energy markets.
On July 10, the Hydrogen Europe association opened its new main office. The event to mark the occasion took place in the White Atrium building on Avenue de la Toison d’Or in Brussels. Among the guests were prominent figures such as Miguel Arias Cañete, the EU’s commissioner for climate action and energy.
Plansee SE, which specializes in high-temperature materials and is based in Reutte, Austria, will discontinue its fuel cell business. Early this year, management had announced that the company intended to refocus attention on core operations, namely molybdenum and wolfram production, and abandon research on metal-supported fuel cells. It is said, however, that Global Tungsten & Powders, a fully owned Plansee subsidiary headquartered in Towanda, USA, will continue