A Site Visit to SOLIDpower in Heinsberg

Andreas Ballhausen flanked by the old and new generation of BlueGen devices.

Twelve years after the first BlueGen system came to market, SOLIDpower will launch the next generation of its fuel cell units, called BG-15, in spring. On Nov. 21, 2018, it celebrated the new product announcement by taking partners, employees, the press and many other invited guests on a tour of its manufacturing plant in Heinsberg, Germany.

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Fuel Cells at Home: Looking for Options

What do you do when your heating system stops working? Of course, you call the company that installed it. And what if they tell you that repairing your 22-year-old gas boiler isn’t worth it anymore? Which system is affordable yet state of the art? Do you want a condensing boiler or rather a home fuel cell? Where can you get the information you need? Who can you talk to? H2-international’s Editor-in-Chief Sven Geitmann went looking for answers and this is his story of what happened.

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Power-to-Gas for Non-Electrified Areas

Professor Michael Sterner

A nightmare scenario is making the rounds in the gas sector: All of Germany comes to rely on electric power alone, abandoning the pipeline system. It is a future that can easily be dismissed as an unlikely horror story but one that gas companies are trying to prevent at all costs. It is why an industry that has so far focused on traditional means of heat production is slowly warming to power-to-gas and energy systems integration and why the DVGW gave an update on the market by presenting a new study, including policy recommendations, last September.

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Wind Power Boosts Hydrogen Transportation

Hydrogenics electrolyzer in the Covestro industrial area, © Niels H. Petersen

Thanks to NEW 4.0, the German state of Schleswig-Holstein is rapidly turning into a showcase for the energy market transformation in the country. The abbreviation stands for a growing innovation alliance, formed on the threshold of the fourth industrial revolution, which intends to create a smart and interconnected energy system. One of the many NEW 4.0 projects is Wind to Gas Energy’s hydrogen venture in Brunsbüttel.

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Fronius Starts Up Green Hydrogen Fueling Station

The SOLH2UB container, © Joachim Berner

At the beginning of October 2018, Fronius, a power electronics manufacturer based in Pettenbach, Austria, commissioned a demonstration system of a solar-hydrogen fueling station at its research and development facility in Thalheim, near Wels. The business expects the system named SOLH2UB to become not only a part of its 24-hour solar strategy but also a decentralized component of a future hydrogen economy.

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Fuel Cell Watercraft

SF BREEZE concept, © Sandia National Laboratories

Hydrogen and fuel cells are becoming ever more popular in the maritime industry. After many years spent on research and development, it seems as if both technologies could enter the market soon. Launched in 2009, the e4ships flagship project had been a way to explore a variety of options for fuel cell use in the shipping market. Seven years later, the venture and all of its subprojects came to an end.

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Plasmalysis to Treat Wastewater

Jens Hanke explaining the workings of the Plasmalyzer® container.

Plasma physics plays only a minor role in research in Germany. There are some niche market applications for it, such as coating plastic bags or cutting electrically conductive material. But the daily work of most German engineers and technicians doesn’t involve the fourth state of matter. Now that Graforce unveiled a new unit called plasmalyzer at a press conference on Oct. 17, 2018, in Berlin, interest in this field of physics may be on the rise again. The system, which uses wastewater as a reagent, produces hydrogen with the help of ionized gas, with the product reportedly being capable of driving LNG vehicles. So, how does it work?

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Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Opportunities in the UK

Red hydrogen bus by Wrightbus in London

Since the government passed the Clean Growth Strategy at the end of 2017, the UK’s hydrogen and fuel cell sector has been picking up speed. Despite Brexit headaches, politicians, business executives and researchers see the technologies as a great chance to set up key value chains across the country and turn it into a leading market for hydrogen-based heat. The UK’s BEIS department, which is in charge of implementing the strategy, has likewise been promoting the use of hydrogen to generate heat and power means of transportation.

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