Fuel Cell Engines Made in Saxony

Unwerth
Thomas von Unwerth

The German state of Saxony is slowly turning into a hub for hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. On Nov. 29, 2018, around 160 people headed to Fraunhofer IWU in Chemnitz to attend the HZwo Technology Forum, at which Martin Dulig, Saxony’s economy and transportation minister, started up a new system manufactured by Fuel Cell Powertrain.

Like Hydrogen Power Storage & Solutions East Germany, or Hypos for short, HZwo was set up by a consortium of companies with the aim to spur investment in the hydrogen and fuel cell sector across middle and eastern Germany. While the HYPOS network stretches over multiple regions and focuses on hydrogen production and storage, the main target group for HZwo is Saxony’s supplier industry. Based in Chemnitz, the HZwo innovation cluster is being backed by prominent figures from the state, such as Saxony’s economy minister Dulig, who said in his keynote speech that the state needed more than “just new ideas: We need opportunities to create added value.” To strengthen partnerships between participating organizations, the state government will provide the cluster with around EUR 1.6 million until 2022.

Now, multiple stakeholders are seeking to convince as many businesses as possible to relocate to the region, in an effort to build “engines for Saxony,” as the tagline goes, and set up collaborations. For many years, the area between Dresden and Freiberg has been home to companies and research sites that develop high-temperature fuel cells running on natural gas. Among them are DBI GUT, multiple Fraunhofer institutes and businesses such as Sunfire and kraftwerk TUBES (formerly eZelleron, see p. 6). In essence, the region is already on its way to becoming a hydrogen cluster.

Professor Thomas von Unwerth, HZwo’s founder and chairman and the director of the Institute for Automotive Research at Chemnitz University of Technology, had set up a platform for networking, the Chemnitzer Initiative Technologien der Elektromobilität, as early as 2011. His goal was to deepen cooperation with the Fortis Saxonia student team, which participates in Shell’s Eco-marathon on a regular basis. By contrast, HZwo focuses mainly on securing Saxony’s leading role in the development of fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen equipment.

read the whole article: H2-international January issue 2019

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