Georgios “Jorgo” Chatzimarkakis was born in Duisburg, Germany, in 1966. He holds German and Greek nationality, a degree in agriculture and politics from the University of Bonn, and even back then, he had already showed a strong interest in economic history and international and European law, making his entry into politics an easier one. He went on to work for Germany’s Foreign Office, as a business consultant, as an associate professor in the field of European Politics and until 2014 for Germany’s Free Democrats
In late March, Dieter Zetsche’s words on electric transportation and the future of fuel cells caused quite a stir in the automotive industry. During the auto motor und sport conference on March 27 in Stuttgart, the head of Daimler was asked about what type of electric transportation his company would favor over the coming years. Instead of the short reply one would expect, he went on to give a long answer to the question and it seemed to have given rise to wildly different interpretations.
Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, sent a clear signal during her opening tour of this year’s Hannover Messe on April 24, 2017. Together with Poland’s prime minister, Beata Szydło, she went to Energy hall 27 to take a closer look at a fuel cell bus, something that created a cheerful mood among the exhibitors at the joint booth Hydrogen + Fuel Cells + Batteries set up right next to the vehicle.
On May 31, 2017, the East-Bavarian Institute for Technology Transfer based in Regensburg, Germany, went out of business. Also known as OTTI, it filed for insolvency on Oct. 27, 2016, when it was on the verge of not being able to meet its financial obligations, and insolvency proceedings commenced on Feb. 1, 2017. No potential investor could be found and four decades of conference organizing came to an end this year.
Maroš Šefčovič, vice president of the European Commission’s Energy Union, spent twenty minutes during Hannover Messe to discuss the role of green hydrogen in the energy transformation with representatives from industry. The conversation at NOW’s booth was followed by the DWV and industry representatives presenting Šefčovič with a position paper by the industry. It called on the European Commission to consider a legislative change
On March 30, 2017, the German Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association organized a parliamentary evening at the French embassy in Germany’s capital of Berlin. The embassy had already been the venue for a similar meeting between politicians and industry representatives three years ago. The topic was the economic feasibility of hydrogen transportation, this time including rail and maritime applications besides the much-discussed issue of road vehicles.
Johannes Schiel, formerly managing director of VDMA’s Fuel Cells working group, left the German association of machinery and equipment suppliers at the end of April. His successor, Gerd Krieger, used to be his mentor and had been deputy director of VDMA’s Power Systems department. Krieger has worked for the association for 25 years.
Since last December, industrial gas supplier Linde has been trying in a second attempt to merge with its American competitor Praxair. On June 2, 2017, Linde’s supervisory board finally approved the merger, a decision that was not without controversy. As Reuters has reported, one of the six worker representatives had abstained from voting, effectively turning a split decision into a six-to-five vote in favor of the deal.
The RD&D activities of the industry and the public sector have successfully established a global market for hydrogen and fuel cells. There is growing consensus about the importance of these clean energy carriers in transportation and several manufacturing segments. Countries such as Germany, Japan and the United States – and organizations such as the European Commission – have been spearheading efforts in research, development and demonstration technologically and politically to show how sustainable and reliable these resources really are.