On 10 June 2019, a hydrogen filling station in Norway caught fire. While several media talked about an explosion, the electrolyzer manufacturer involved, Nel, stated that leaked hydrogen gas caught fire in the open air, causing a shock wave. According to police reports, two people were slightly injured in this incident in Sandvika, west of Oslo, when the airbags of their cars deployed. After initial tests, it was said a few days later that hydrogen had escaped through a leak in the high-pressure storage system and had ignited. However, no tank had burst.
During this year’s f-cell, which took place on 10 and 11 September 2019 in Stuttgart, a look into the future was taken and the question of how hydrogen can make the transport sector more climate-friendly was answered.
On 2 July 2019, Sebastian Kurz, chairman of the new Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), and his party colleague Elisabeth Köstinger jointly presented their climate protection package. The goal formulated therein is to make the Alpine republic CO2-neutral by 2045. According to Kurz, hydrogen should play a key role in this process: “This is not only a clean alternative hope for the future in the field of mobility, but also a great opportunity for Austria to become the world’s number one hydrogen nation.
The success story of fuel cell trains to date is currently undergoing a severe setback: As the Kieler Nachrichten (news) recently reported, electric trains could roll through Schleswig-Holstein from 2022, but they are likely to be equipped with accumulators for energy storage and not with hydrogen.
While Formula E in Germany was held in Berlin on 24 and 25 May 2019 with purely battery-operated racing cars, preparatory measures are currently underway elsewhere to ensure that hydrogen cars can also take part in races in the future. On 28 March 2019, the LMPH2G prototype completed its first laps at Le Mans with driver Emmanuel Collard and prominent co-driver Bertrand Piccard.
Not only the movement “Fridays for Future” has many supporters at the moment, also the “Windretter” have a lot of supporters behind them. On 10 April 2019, the initiator Sybille Riepe handed over an open letter with 4,105 signatures to the Minister of Economics of Schleswig-Holstein, Dr. Bernd Klaus Buchholz.
MAN is a vehicle and mechanical engineering group and is commonly associated with combustion engines and commercial vehicles. This is now likely to change, as the subsidiary of Volkswagen AG has held 40 percent of the shares in H-Tec Systems GmbH, an electrolyser manufacturer, since the end of March 2019.
“Let’s refine renewable energies – we as an industry would be ready.” With these words Mai-Inken Knackfuß, Managing Director of watt_2.0, opened the New Energy Days, which took place from 21 to 24 March 2019 in Husum. The H2.0 conference was the prelude to this event. More than 120 participants came to the NordseeCongressCentrum to inform themselves about a green hydrogen economy in the regions. This was complemented by the public trade fair New Energy Home and the trade fair New Energy Expert, which brought both consumers and experts up to date in the energy sector with a total of around 90 exhibitors.
The core statements of Messe Düsseldorf were contradictory: On the one hand, Hans Werner Reinhard, the managing director of the trade fair company, explained: “A new industry is emerging here. […] We want to have the central platform for energy storage in Germany.” On the other hand, he stated that the exhibitor figures for 2019 were “rather in a horizontal movement”:
For a long time it was very quiet around the H2 combustion engine. Only Keyou GmbH from Munich adhered to this technology. Now the team of former BMW employee and current Keyou managing director Thomas Korn is receiving support from a prominent source: Deutz AG signed a cooperation agreement with Keyou at the end of March 2019. In addition, the Cologne-based company announced that a first prototype using hydrogen as a fuel had already been developed.