For months, thousands of students have taken to the streets every Friday to call for a more sustainable energy system. Under the hashtag #Scientists4Future, scientists have now launched their own campaign in support of the #Fridays4Future generation.
More than 370 people came to the city of Cologne to attend the European Zero Emission Bus Conference, or ZEB for short. The event, which took place from Nov. 27 through Nov. 28, 2018, was a follow-up to the initial conference in London in 2016 and gave attendees the opportunity to keep up with advancements in fuel cell bus technology and tout upcoming projects.
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.
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.
For me, the new year started off with a bang: While hydrogen and fuel cells had rarely been discussed at the many energy conferences held in past years, power-to-gas, electrolyzers and fuel cells are quickly seizing the spotlight these days. It’s very good news for technology suppliers listed on the stock exchange, especially for those mentioned below. The market has finally built enough momentum, and the public is taking note. Also, Tesla’s position as the leader of the field took a bit of a hit in 2018: Competition grew fiercer, with more and more businesses offering electric or hybrid models.
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.
In 2019, Reinhard Christiansen, the chief executive of Energie des Nordens, or EdN, is continuing at the same pace at which he implemented his ideas last year. On January 24, he signed a purchase deal for another PEM electrolyzer, in addition to the 225-kilowatt unit, type ME 100/350 by H-Tec Systems, that was started up in October 2018. He is planning to have the new and larger ME 450/1400 device with a capacity of 1 megawatt installed in the German town of Haurup. Reportedly, this second plant will inject 3.75 million kilowatt-hours of hydrogen, produced from surplus wind power, into Germany’s pipeline system.