Although the aviation industry was the starting point for hydrogen developments, commercial applications in that industry have been few and far between. 1783 marked the launch of the first hydrogen-filled hot-air balloon; later, hydrogen-powered airships crossed the Atlantic. But since the Hindenburg disaster in Lakehurst in 1937, the most lightweight element of all has fallen out of favor in every field except for the space industry.
The aviation industry is aiming for carbon-neutral growth starting in 2020 and a CO2 reduction of 50 per cent by 2050 compared to 2005 . There are currently two options under discussion to achieve these goals: Emission certificates and biofuels. Both are not immune to criticism because of their direct and indirect impact on the environment.
Hydrogen has the potential to assume an especially important role during the technological shift away from fossil fuels toward renewable and alternative sources of energy. Plans for using renewably sourced hydrogen as an energy carrier (e.g., power-to-gas) to deal with periods of excess power have posed special challenges for the energy industry. In addition to environmental and economic considerations, the increase in the amount of hydrogen creates hurdles for material use, as the hydrogen may cause spontaneous failures of metallic components
During the HYACINTH project supported by the EU, the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI based in Karlsruhe, Germany, and its partners have studied how well-accepted hydrogen technologies are by the general public as well as industry and governmental stakeholders. The result was that overall, there was a more positive attitude toward those technologies in Germany
The Battery Production steering committee of the VDMA, the German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association, has had two new spokespersons since early September 2016. Both work for KUKA Industries, an Augsburg-based provider of fully automated battery production systems. The votes for Paul Merz, sales director of technology solutions EMEA, and Joachim Döhner, vice president of technology solutions, were unanimous.
Professor Andreas Grzemba about which direction electric transportation will or could take in the future: “We won’t need any cords or our hands to charge electric vehicles.” Today, many experts believe the cord is the best solution to charge car batteries. But as technical manager of the German E-WALD research project, Grzemba thinks that autonomous driving and inductive charging will become two sides of the same coin and the standard over time.
Springer Vieweg Verlag has published a new 324-page softcover book about “Evaluating the safety of composite tanks.” Author Georg W. Mair looks at the potential of statistical methods beyond current regulations to show alternative options for rating the safety of carbon fiber-reinforced tanks. Mair works at the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing or BAM and heads the division Pressure Equipment – Pressure Receptacles – Fuel Gas Storage Systems.
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.