The Hyundai Motor Group, based in South Korea, is one of few automakers that offer fuel cell vehicles on the market. In mid-June, it announced that it would support Audi’s work in the field and both corporations have since signed an agreement about cross-licensing patents. The contract expressly mentions the group companies that are part of the endeavor.
Every two years, the H2Congress takes place in North Rhine-Westphalia’s state office in Berlin. And if there is one technology that has grown in popularity throughout past conferences, it was hydrogen. So it seems only fitting that this year’s event, held June 6 and 7, placed the emphasis on electrolysis and power-to-gas, that is, the economic implications of hydrogen use in transportation and energy markets.
Enthusiasm was on display at the International Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Conference and Exhibition, which was held July 26 through 28 in Beijing. It showed the incredible speed at which China as well as Japan have grown in importance in the global hydrogen and fuel cell market. The People’s Republic knows how to benefit from the potential offered by both technologies.
In late April, Asahi Kasei Europe started up one of its alkaline electrolyzers (see image) at the German h2herten Hydrogen Center of Excellence in Herten. The recently established business is part of the Asahi Kasei Group, a Japanese chemical company that employs 30,000 and has intimate knowledge of chloralkaline electrolysis. The electrolyzer in Herten was designed specifically to produce hydrogen from intermittent renewable sources.
The second stop for the successor to Hyundai’s ix35 Fuel Cell was neither Detroit nor Tokyo but Offenbach, home to the automaker’s German and European headquarters. In mid-January, seven weeks prior to its official European premiere in Geneva, the Nexo was shown to a select group of journalists in this city by the river Main in the German state of Hesse.
The 14th International Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Expo took place Feb. 28 through March 2 in Tokyo, Japan. According to the organizers, it is the largest hydrogen and fuel cell show in the world. One regular exhibitor over the past several years has been H2BZ-Initiative Hessen, the hydrogen and fuel cell initiative from the German state of Hesse.
Hydrogenious Technologies, based in Erlangen, Germany, has succeeded in bolstering its global partner network over the past months. In mid-January, it said that it had signed a cooperation agreement with a Chinese supplier, Zhongshan Broad Ocean Motor Co., while South African mining corporation Anglo American Platinum, also known as Amplats, had increased its investment in the company.
In December 2017, there were 91 public hydrogen refueling stations operating in Japan, with another 10 in development, putting the country well on its way to its short-term goal of 160 by 2020. The deployment of stations has been one of Japan’s hydrogen success stories, despite daunting costs and a lack of initial demand.
The good news is that fuel cells for materials handling equipment are no longer confined to a niche market. Entire warehouses in North America are currently being served by hydrogen-powered forklift trucks. This type of fuel cell application is also becoming increasingly popular in Asia and Europe, but their logistics industries will have some catching up to do.
Last November, Thomas Melczer and Achim Loecher were appointed CEOs at newly founded FCP – Fuel Cell Powertrain, a joint venture between Melczer’s PTT Power Train Technology based in the German state of Saxony and Dewei Group Holdings from Beijing. They share the role with Professor Thomas von Unwerth, director of the Advanced Powertrains department at Chemnitz University of Technology, which works in close partnership with FCP.