The German government has announced it is planning to pass a national hydrogen strategy this year, with the aim of establishing a regulatory framework for the sector. The transportation, heat, energy storage and transfer, and chemical manufacturing markets could benefit from its implementation very quickly.
In 1883, the War of the Pacific, also known as the Saltpeter War, ended with the victory of Chile over Peru and Bolivia and Chile’s annexation of the Tarapacá and Antofagasta regions. But why go to war over the world’s driest desert? The area was rich in gold, albeit not the traditional kind.
The CertifHy system for tracking the origin of green (renewable) and blue (low-carbon) hydrogen has moved past the pilot stage and can now be used throughout the EU to certify the gas and issue guarantees of origin.
The recent dynamism in the hydrogen market has led to discussions about the methods by which it is produced and the sustainability of different production pathways.
In June 2019, mere weeks before stepping down as British prime minister, Theresa May committed the United Kingdom to an ambitious new target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The amendment to the Climate Change Act made the UK the first G7 nation to enshrine net-zero emissions in law. This toughened stance has resulted in carbon dioxide reduction becoming a more pressing issue than ever.
Vårgårda, a small town in the south west of Sweden, took a crucial step toward more sustainable public housing when it turned six apartment blocks into energy-independent buildings by using a combination of PV solar panels, batteries and hydrogen fuel cells.
Today, most stationary power systems run on natural gas. The idea of blending hydrogen into the gas pipeline network, however, has been under discussion for a while, and there have already been some tests conducted on its feasibility. Heating manufacturers have assured clients that current-generation systems can run on low-level 10 percent hydrogen blends and announced that the next generation could manage up to 30 percent. They said in the long term, it would also be possible to use hydrogen only. For example, Viessmann has announced that all of its new gas boilers would be “hydrogen-ready” starting in 2023 or 2024.
Stationary hydrogen combustion engine
The WTZ engine and machinery research center in Roßlau chose a different path to developing a new stationary zero-emission system. It designed an air-independent propulsion engine called H2 DI Zero. The name stems from the fact that some of the combustion gases are recovered so the engine emits nothing but steam. Instead of air, it uses argon, an inert gas that can be retrieved multiple times over, and pure oxygen, mixed with hydrogen.
Besides replacing old devices to put in newer, more efficient ones, there also seems to be a trend toward more complex solutions. For example, Sunfire expects that at some point, entire neighborhoods will be supplied with energy through a combination of solar PV, heat pump and large fuel cell devices. These multi-energy residential systems will no longer produce heat and power for individual buildings but several residential units at once.
German consumers in need of a new heating system have expressed growing interest in home fuel cells, an assessment shared by the public hydrogen and fuel cell agency. Although there are few systems on the market these days, and pretty expensive ones at that, their numbers are rising. As it looks now, the government will continue to fund the sector for a while. The following paragraphs offer a summary of what is currently available for sale.
A study called ShipFuel has analyzed how technically and economically feasible it is to use fuel cell systems running on electricity-derived fuels aboard inland waterway vessels by comparing them with conventional diesel engines used for ship propulsion.
The study, commissioned by the German transportation ministry, was coordinated by NOW under the auspices of the German NIP program.