In many communities, electric buses have been the latest innovation to grab the attention of passengers and mayors alike. While passengers are just thrilled about the quiet and smooth ride, mass transit companies are looking for businesses that can deliver these types of vehicles, especially fuel cell ones, as quickly as possible. However, few options are for sale, despite a boost in demand.
The aim of the EU-funded HyLaw project is to promote the launch of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies by giving stakeholders a detailed overview of current regulations and showing political decision makers where the sector is faced with legal barriers to growth. Coordinated by Hydrogen Europe, it is the EU’s first project that focuses on regulatory issues concerning hydrogen production and sale.
Measuring the quality of hydrogen is often, unjustifiably, viewed as time-consuming and expensive. Rather, it helps to better understand and improve technical processes. The path to regular quality measurements of hydrogen is being intensely debated as we speak.
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.