Fuel cell buses emit no air pollutants or environmentally harmful gases. They can run an entire day without the need for refueling and offer operators the same flexibility as diesel vehicles. Fifty-four fuel cell buses and nine hydrogen filling stations were tested in day-to-day operation during the Clean Hydrogen in European Cities project from 2010 to 2016. The results were presented in London at the Zero Emission Bus Conference on Nov. 30, 2016.
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.
The transportation sector is moving forward again: After a years-long debate and much reporting about fuel cell use in passenger cars, a breath of new life has been given to maritime, railroad and aviation applications. Especially many of the stakeholders in the maritime industry see great market potential for fuel cell units, as environmental regulations are gradually putting pressure on the oft-used diesel technology.
There has been a steady rise in the number of power-to-gas plants in Germany. Systems at several dozen locations are now producing hydrogen based on eco-power. Despite some bureaucratic hurdles and technical complications that developers may face, planning and construction are typically uneventful processes. Not so in the German town of Grenzach-Wyhlen: There, the future neighbors of a planned power-to-gas system founded a citizens’ initiative to prevent it from being built.
Despite a higher-than-expected net loss of USD 1.9 million in the third quarter and only USD 6.7 million in revenue – down 30 percent from the same period the year prior – Hydrogenics could report a record USD 106.2 million in order bookings, of which USD 30 million should be realized within the next 12 months. One of the customers that had placed new orders was E.ON, and the integration of fuel cell stacks with trains and streetcars in collaboration with Alstom is turning out to be a success.
Professor Eicke R. Weber stepped down from his position as director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in late 2016. He reportedly did so for age-related reasons, although a successor has not been named yet. Since 2006, Weber had been head of the Freiburg-based institute and professor of physics/solar energy at the University of Freiburg.
The changes on the Hydrogen Europe board are not over yet. At the assembly in Brussels on Nov. 24, 2016, the association’s members elected Nils Aldag from sunfire as energy chair, Denis Thomas from Hydrogenics as membership and joint undertaking commitment chair and Werner Diwald from the DWV as association pillar chair. Aldag replaced Katharina Beumelburg from Siemens and Thomas succeeded Thomas Melczer, who used to work at Proton Motor
The eighth and last eCarTec took place in Munich, Germany, on Oct. 18 to 20 last year. There will be another conference about electric transportation in fall in the Bavarian state capital, but its new name is “eMove360°” and it will offer a wider variety of topics about “Transportation 4.0” (electric transportation, connected and autonomous driving, materials and design).
Between Oct. 10 and 12 last year, the 16th World of Energy Solutions took place on Stuttgart’s trade show premises – which was good news, considering that Landesmesse Stuttgart and e-mobil BW had previously done little to nothing to support a 2016 implementation. It made the reduction in the number of exhibitors and attendees seem less important and easier to bear. After many long faces on the first day, the mood did improve on the second thanks to an increased interest in the event.
The time may have come to turn a years-old vision into reality: On Aug. 30, 2016, Pininfarina announced that it would use the Green GT powertrain design in its small-batch race car H2 Speed. The Italian car designer, which was bought by the Mahindra conglomerate for USD 28 million last December, had unveiled a concept study of the powerful, high-performance and hydrogen-run Le Mans Prototype at the Geneva International Motor Show in early 2016.