Numerous European countries are working hard – to a greater or lesser extent – in the field of hydrogen and fuel cell technology. Since 2006, one region has been particularly active: South Tyrol. In September 2009, in Bolzano, Italy, the ground-breaking ceremony was held for the construction of the first production and distribution system for green hydrogen in the country. The site adjacent to the Bolzano South freeway exit is now home to the biggest center for hydrogen in Europe, which is operated by the Institute for Innovative Technologies (IIT) and the Brenner A22 freeway. H2-international interviewed IIT President Walter Huber about the previous, current and future activities in South Tyrol.
On 21st May 2015, the first hydrogen filling station opened in Tyrol, Austria. The new station, on the Andechsstrasse in Innsbruck, is situated on one of the most important transit routes in Europe and is part of an existing OMV crude oil filling station at which it will be possible to refuel six fuel cell cars per hour with hydrogen in the future. On the occasion of the official opening, Austrian State Minister Patrizia Zoller-Frischauf made the following comment: “As a heavily used transit country which has to deal with CO2, particulate and noise pollution, we view an emissions-free
In Switzerland, the initial trials for the development of an infrastructure for fuel cell vehicles are now underway. At the start of April 2015, a consortium of companies announced that the first public hydrogen filling station is to be built in early 2016. The fuel to be used there is to be produced sustainably using hydroelectric power. For this purpose, the energy services group Axpo, one of the biggest producers of renewable energy in the Alpine state, is planning to construct an electrolyzer directly adjacent to one of its existing run-of-the-river power plants. The hydrogen
So that additional FC heating devices go into use throughout Europe, work is currently underway on a successor program to the currently existing ene.field project. Its goal is to achieve a further reduction in the costs of micro-CHP units (of approx. 30%). The new program aims to constitute the second demonstration step for manufacturers of all types of FC. To this end, financial resources in total of approx. EUR 30 to 40 m. might be provided by the EU so that every manufacturer is able to
“Stationary fuel cells in Europe are on the threshold of a commercial market launch.” This finding in the study by Roland Berger Strategy Consultants implies that the market launch of FC heating devices is yet to take place. So that a commercialization can take place, according to the analysis on the status of stationary fuel cell technology in Europe, “support by the state is required in the initial phase”.
In the scope of the study commissioned by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), the authors considered different types of stationary fuel cells in differing output ranges and areas of use, and ascertained that in Europe
While the further development of the H2 and FC technology is diligently perfected in the laboratories and workshops using new catalyst materials or production processes, elsewhere – just as diligently – discussions are taking place about the political framework conditions. In spring 2015, it was decided in Brussels that in the future, during the refining of fuels, hydrogen which is produced from renewable energies will gain a multiple offsetting against the biofuel quota, but “only” by a factor of two and not – as requested by many – by a factor of four.
At its annual meeting earlier this year, the New Energy World Industry Grouping (NEW-IG) elected its new executive board. The new members, who will initially serve for two years, are Thomas Melczer and Andreas Frömmel. Melczer, Director of Business Development at Proton Motor Fuel Cell, is now responsible for the