The German pavilion at the 13th FC Expo held from March 1 through 3 this year in Japan’s capital was packed with exhibitors. One of the members of the joint booth was again the H2BZ-Initiative Hessen. Birgit Scheppat, board member and professor at RheinMain University of Applied Sciences, traveled for the fair to Tokyo and reports for H2-international on her experiences.
An increasing number of German cities follow the example of Hamburg and stipulate the use of only zero-emission buses in public transportation starting in 2020 – Berlin’s senate among them. The transit authorities of the German state were instructed to purchase only buses without combustion engines from 2020 to ensure that the state government can meet federal and EU climate protection goals throughout the next decade.
From March 1 through 3, 2017, the FC Expo will again be held in Tokyo, Japan. This year will be the ninth time that Peter Sauber Agentur Messen und Kongresse organizes a German pavilion at the International Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Expo. Bearing the slogan “Hydrogen and fuel cells made in Germany,” the pavilion will offer German businesses and institutions a joint booth of around 100 square meters (1,076 square feet) for networking opportunities in the Asian country. According to Silke Frank, official representative of Peter Sauber, the pavilion has been “the biggest of this trade show for years.”
Even at the IAA Commercial Vehicles from Sept. 22 to 29, 2016, electric transportation was talked about – albeit not very much. For example, Volkswagen presented his e-Crafter concept study, which even EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger and federal transportation minister Alexander Dobrindt paid a visit during their trade show tour. Delivery of the first units of this electric transporter with a top speed of 80 kph (50 mph) is expected for this year.
Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh is looking to establish framework agreements with Chinese companies, as he believes the country to be a very promising market. China is said to have already invested more than USD 100 billion in fuel cell technology over the years, as it has recognized that there is large potential to tap (see Ballard). Talks with Chinese-based automotive suppliers are ongoing. In the US, Plug Power hopes that there will be other tax incentives for fuel cell vehicles. The investment tax credits have certainly been a factor in getting orders for forklift truck retrofits. Donald Trump, however, is said to be opposed to these types of incentives as much as in the wind and solar industry.
A new megatrend needs time to develop. The last 15 years established the foundation for the coming breakthrough of fuel cells and a steadily growing interest in their use. Here’s why: Historically, technological revolutions often needed 15 years before a breakthrough was achieved. But once you’re past that point, everything goes very quickly, since no market actor wants to remain on the sidelines. This is exactly what’s happening to the fuel cell across all markets and applications.
Taking a look at China these days, one may wonder if we haven’t already found the solution for a sustainable future in hydrogen and fuel cells. During his June business trip to the Land of the Dragon, H2-international’s stock market analyst Sven Jösting took part in the two-day German-Chinese SME Conference in Jieyang as representative of German environmental organization B.A.U.M. In front of 800 attendees, he tried to answer the question: “Will water become what coal is today?” Afterward, he visited the industrial park Metal Eco City in the east of southern Chinese province Guangdong.
Hyundai has been on the market with its mass-produced ix35 fuel cell car since 2013. Last year, 250 units were shipped to Europe, with 120 sold or leased to German businesses alone. And this year, Linde established BeeZero, which ordered as many as 50 of them for its vehicle-sharing service in Munich. Even though the fuel cell version won’t be coming to every Hyundai dealership within the next months, H2-international put it to the test for nine days
Critics of the economic incentive for electric cars have had their I-told-you-so moment for now: The “eco-bonus” has been attracting little interest so far. Within two months (from September 5th, 2016), the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Export Control received a mere 3,027 applications. Registration figures, however, paint a slightly more optimistic picture of the market
Since 2008, South Korea has aggressively pushed the development of the fuel cell markets for stationary and mobile use. The driving factor behind the government’s decision was the global economic crisis, which led to an equally painful economic downturn in Asia. In the country officially called the Republic of Korea, it awakened dark memories