A big opportunity for machinery manufacturers

VDMA study analyzes fuel cell vehicle market

Starting in 2030, fuel cells will be making significant inroads in the passenger car, commercial vehicle and heavy equipment markets. Their importance, as well as the required hydrogen infrastructure, will grow steadily in the coming years, mainly thanks to heavy-duty applications. By 2040, the technology will power 12 percent of all vehicles sold in those markets, creating 68,000 new jobs in Europe in the process. These are the key takeaways from “Engine of change – Fuel cells’ impact on the machinery and industrial equipment industry and its suppliers,” a study conducted by FEV Consulting for Germany’s national engineering federation VDMA. Unlike battery-electric motors, fuel cells have quite a lot in common with internal combustion engines when it comes to production and supply chains, a boon to traditional automakers and machinery manufacturers.

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How to speed up the energy market transformation

Interview with energy expert Peter Röttgen

energy expert Mr. Peter Röttgen
© Fortum

Peter Röttgen, a PhD geologist, was once the head of the E.ON Energy Storage Innovation Center in Düsseldorf. He then became president of the Brussels-based European Association for Storage of Energy and remained in that role for many years. From August 2017 to early 2019, he led German renewable energy federation BEE before he left to work at Finnish energy supplier Fortum’s German office as vice president of public affairs. In March, Fortum became Uniper’s majority shareholder.

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Hydrogen-compatible polymers

New ways to achieve comparable and reproducible findings

Vehicle fuel cells contain many non-metals, particularly polymers, for several different purposes. While seals are made from elastomers, Type IV containers are lined with thermoplastics, the same materials that are now also increasingly used to make hardware parts, such as gaskets. The standards and guidelines relevant to the industry require a series of tests to ensure that the chosen polymers are suitable for a given application.

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Specialty metals for water electrolysis

Are iridium and platinum critical materials?

Hydrogen will have a crucial role to play in transforming the energy market. The first element of the periodic table has great potential to decarbonize much of the steel, cement and chemical industries as well as aviation, heavy-duty road haulage and maritime transportation. As a result, politicians across the EU are mapping out plans to support electrolyzer capacity increases and hydrogen production methods.

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CIRO introduces fuel cells to Coesfeld students

New class on hydrogen at German secondary school

3 students playing with fuel cell toy car
Students playing with fuel cell toy car
©CIRO

From where will we get our electricity in the future? What will we use to power our cars and trains? How can we live sustainably, without the use of fossil fuels? Finding answers to these and other questions is the aim of an Erasmus+ project involving students and teachers at Heriburg-Gymnasium, a German secondary school in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, as well as British, Greek and Spanish partner organizations. The project is led by Ariema Energía y Medioambiente, a spin-off from Spain’s National Institute for Aerospace Technology. British partner Cyber Coach Smart is developing a digital learning game.

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New research center in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania

MW-P´s Governor Mrs Manuela Schwesig
MW-P´s Governor Schwesig, © Schramm/Staatskanzlei MW

Germany‘s northeast is finally buzzing with activity. For a long time, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania’s hydrogen community had rarely made the news. However, that was before the state’s economy ministry announced at the hydrogen sector meeting in Güstrow on Aug. 21 that it plans to build a hydrogen research center. Stefan Rudolph, who works at the economy ministry, said that Mecklenburg-West Pomerania will receive around EUR 50 million for shutting down the coal power station in Rostock because of Germany‘s exit from coal-fired energy production.

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New DLR institutes in northern Germany

The German government’s central research organization for aerospace technology, DLR, continues to expand its operations. It plans to build two new institutes, one to develop maritime energy systems and another to advance systems engineering in the transportation sector. On June 23, DLR’s oversight board gave the green light for both. At that time, the German parliament had already approved the economy ministry’s November 2019 request for EUR 22 million annually to build and run the new research facilities. Another EUR 2 million a year will come from the German states of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein.

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Hydrogen on Wadden Islands

Way of hydrogen in the Wadden sea
© H2Watt

Hydrogen is considered crucial to transforming the energy market, especially in the northern parts of Germany and the Netherlands with their growing number of clean energy systems. On two North Sea islands, INTERREG project H2Watt is now investigating the opportunities that a hydrogen infrastructure can provide before it will put ideas into practice. Where will it be eco-friendly to switch to hydrogen? What is the best way to accomplish this? Representing a microcosm of a supply chain, both islands offer the perfect chance to study the real-world use of hydrogen. In late April, H2Watt was kicked off by a week-long virtual event showing video clips created by the project’s partners.

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Green hydrogen for industry

Industrial scale greend hydrogen and decarbonization

Sandwiched between the North and Baltic seas, Schleswig-Holstein is considered to have great potential for generating clean wind energy. Boasting an installed turbine capacity of around 6.7 gigawatts onshore and 1.8 gigawatts offshore, and a nearly 37 percent renewable energy share in total final consumption (122 percent in gross electricity use), Germany’s northernmost state is well above the national average. Its 2025 aim is to have renewables contribute up to 65 percent to state-wide energy generation. And by 2050, the North Sea and its coastal areas could be home to Europe’s largest clean energy system – ideal prospects for kicking off a real hydrogen economy.

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Clean hydrogen on demand

PowerPaste of the IFAM
PowerPaste, © IFAM

A few years ago, research at Dresden-based Fraunhofer IFAM’s Hydrogen Technologies department led to the development of a paste-like substance that can provide on-demand energy under well-controllable conditions for multiple kinds of fuel cell applications. In partnership with businesses and other research institutes, IFAM has since launched several projects to demonstrate that this substance called PowerPaste, the main ingredient of which is magnesium hydride, is both safe and easy to handle. The institute is also currently building a system to produce multiple tons of PowerPaste a year for use in field tests.

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