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
Many prominent figures from politics and business showed up to the H2Mobility conference in Berlin, Germany, in order to re-assure each other of the promises they had already made. Alexander Dobrindt kicked off the event held on the premises of his government department, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), before the Chinese transportation minister, Wan Gang, addressed the audience.
Life’s hard on Honda: The Japanese carmaker has always been overshadowed by its biggest rival Toyota. Whereas Toyota is expanding its lead thanks to VW‘s diesel emissions scandal, Honda’s efforts to shine in the spotlight, at least by promoting forward-looking technologies, have been met with only a lukewarm press reception. The latest example of that was the corporation’s unveiling of its second generation of Clarity fuel cell cars in the fall of 2015. The presentation attracted much less attention than when Toyota showcased the first generation of its Mirai.
One should never be too enthusiastic, but if the Chinese government really takes up the battle against the country’s dramatic pollution levels, fuel cells and hydrogen will become top priorities – domestically and globally. People will take note of the comments that Wan Gang, China’s minister of science and technology, made during this year’s industry conference H2Mobility in Berlin in early April. Gang – an engineer, who had a ten-year stint at Audi – considers the fuel cell‘s versatility and “green hydrogen” to be two key solutions for improving China’s environmental situation
Japanese Fuji Electric bought up N2telligence, based in Wismar, Germany, at the beginning of this year. The company, which had introduced several TriGeneration and QuattroGeneration modules in collaboration with its Japanese partner (see ZBT system), announced in a press release that Fuji Electric Europe had acquired a majority stake (70%) in N2telligence on Jan. 11, 2016. The company name was subsequently renamed to Fuji N2telligence.
Japan’s federal R,D&D budget for the 2016 fiscal year, which starts April 1, 2016, is 37.1 billion yen (285 million Euro), according to a recent report from Technova, a Japanese advanced technology consultancy. The total includes continuing support for the successful Ene-Farm residential fuel cell program, which will support an estimated 50,000 residential installations this year.
In the good-natured international race to deploy hydrogen fueling stations for fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV), Japan has taken a clear lead, with 74 stations approved to date, a dramatic jump from the 45 stations operating or under construction at the end of 2014. By comparison, California and Germany have about 50 stations in operation or under development.
Japan’s ENE-FARM program is arguably the most successful fuel cell commercialization program in the world. ENE-FARM has supported the deployment of well over 120,000 residential fuel cell units and is providing proof that long term public-private partnerships can push new technology into the marketplace. New models coming on the market in 2015 are smaller, more efficient, cheaper and more easily installed than previous models.
Considering the current fuel cell activities in China, it can be concluded with some certainty that over the course of years to come, the People’s Republic will not suddenly become a pioneer in the field of FC mobility. At the same time, however, in the area of research and development and on the governmental side, the country is now doing some initial groundwork with the use of renewable energy in the area of energy supply. Hydrogen and fuel cell technologies are playing an important role here.