It is with great sadness that we report the death of Robert Rose, a pioneering force and a strong proponent of a future hydrogen economy. He passed away peacefully in the morning hours of October 17, 2018, at his home in Woodbridge, Virginia, after battling a long illness.
On February 12, Andreas Pichler became the new chief executive of the SOLIDpower Group, replacing Alberto Ravagni, who stepped down from his role as CEO of the fuel cell heater maker at his own request. Ravagni had worked for the Italian-based business since its founding in 2007. Pichler is expected to turn SOLIDpower into a globally leading manufacturer of solid oxide fuel cells.
At the turn of the year, NuCellSys, a wholly owned subsidiary of automaker Daimler, became Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell. Besides the name change, the company announced a shift in strategy. Its chief executive, Christian Mohrdieck, explained that “fuel cells are an integral part of engine development at Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell. The new name sends a clear message about our focus and underlines how important fuel cell technology will be in the years to come. It also brings us closer to integrating the company into Daimler’s corporate structure.”
Now that electrification has gained a foothold in the passenger car market, it is starting to have an impact on commercial vehicles as well. While electric trucks and buses have, for a long time, been studied and tested as part of research and demonstration projects around the globe, more and more politicians and environmental associations have begun to explore the potential that this, not so small, sector has for curbing emissions. Not unlike the market for passenger cars, the one for commercial vehicles may soon find itself on the brink of a revolution.
A few months ago, Germany’s Commission on Growth, Industry Restructuring and Employment published its final report, suggesting that the country phase out coal power production by 2038. The document, presented to the public on January 26, recommends replacing most of today’s generation capacity with gas-fired power plants. Additionally, its authors call for assisting regions affected by the changes.
Connecting offshore wind farms to the public grid is still fraught with problems. The main challenge is how to transmit the large amounts of energy generated in the North and Baltic Sea to the coast, since the lines have not yet been adapted to the task.
From January 23 through 25, many high-profile figures visited Berlin for the Handelsblatt magazine’s Energy Summit. Among them was Peter Altmaier, who used the opportunity to deliver a speech detailing what role hydrogen technology could have in a future energy system.
At the FC Expo in Tokyo in late February, Hydrogentle, based in Hamburg, said it would collaborate with other stakeholders in the industry to install a countrywide network of hydrogen fueling stations in Germany to offer drivers a wide range of places to fill up their commercial vehicles. To this end, it signed an agreement with an unnamed partner company about adding hydrogen pumps to truck stops alongside German autobahns. In all, 30 stops are expected to be put up in nearby industrial areas, although the number could ultimately rise to 52.
Hydrogen is an oft-discussed topic in and around Hamburg these days: In summer last year, the city became the birthplace of the Hydrogen Industry Network in Northern Germany. In November 2018, it was where the economy and transportation ministers of the German states on the coastline met for a conference on a joint hydrogen strategy for the region. H2-international talked to Heinrich Klingenberg, the network’s spokesman and chief executive of hySolutions, about the organization’s plans and the future role of the city.
On March 5, at the Geneva International Motor Show, Roland Gumpert showed attendees his Nathalie Race, an electric sportscar named after his daughter. The distinctive feature of the coupe, unveiled in spring 2018, is the engine under the hood: Gumpert, who designed Audi Quattro’s four-wheel drive, said it had been important to him “to build an electric car that doesn’t grind to a halt because the battery is drained but generates electricity during the ride. To achieve this, we used a fuel cell that produces hydrogen from a methanol-water blend.” The fuel cell was made by Serenergy, based in Denmark.