On April 23, NOW’s supervisory board announced its new director in Berlin. Starting on May 15, Kurt-Christoph von Knobelsdorff, formerly a department head at Brandenburg’s economy and energy ministry, will lead the German national hydrogen and fuel cell organization.
Apex Energy Teterow CEO Mathias Hehmann has one vision: to turn his Rostock-based business into a one-stop hydrogen contractor. He intends Apex Energy to design, plan and install devices producing and storing hydrogen as well as run and maintain them over their lifetime.
Although the European Commission funded many hydrogen and fuel cell projects in the last several years, the industry sector was rarely mentioned in Brussels. That changed in 2019, when high-ranking German politicians started taking a second look at the technology.
Hybridge and Element Eins, two German flagship power-to-gas projects, have been put on hold. Managed by transmission system operators, the projects failed to secure government approval. Stakeholders now hope regulations will relax once Germany has introduced its national hydrogen strategy. Opponents warn that such a move would distort market competition.
There it is – the national hydrogen strategy. Five federal ministries presented the cabinet-approved final concept in Berlin on June 10.
Who can make the most of hydrogen and fuel cells? This question seems to have sparked a fierce competition between several German government ministries since late 2019 as they are vying with each other for control over the debate. Their tug-of-war began spreading through the political landscape when hydrogen became an issue to campaign on early this year, prior to the Hamburg state elections. Although the Christian Democrats were the ones who actively promoted the technology for a while, public opinion seems to have shifted in favor of what the Social Democrats are planning to do with it.
Early this year, Silke Frank, the longtime face of the f-cell trade show, left event organizer Peter Sauber Agentur Messen und Kongresse and went on to found Mission Hydrogen in nearby Winnenden on March 1. She had been with Peter Sauber Agentur since 2003 and worked her way up the ladder to become owner and founder Peter Sauber’s right-hand woman who oversaw day-to-day operations at the company. In that time, she had, for many years, a decisive influence on how the f-cell show held in Stuttgart was run.
Are batteries or fuel cells the more environmentally friendly, technically superior and economically prudent solution for electric transportation? Short answer: It depends.
Since January, Jan Petersen has been in charge of developing forward-looking transportation solutions at Total in Germany. He is heading a new division that aims to install not only ultrafast chargers but also hydrogen and natural gas stations. Bruno Daude-Lagrave, the chief executive of Total Deutschland, said the company created the department to respond quickly to market changes and make an active contribution to emissions reduction. He added that the main goal of Total is to be able to provide the energy needed for future generations of vehicles, a goal that can only be achieved by using a combination of different technologies.
Mostly out of the public eye, Berlin-based inhouse engineering has been working for years behind the scenes on a fuel cell system that does not quite fit in with other suppliers‘ product offerings. With 5 kW capacity, it is much more powerful than devices offered by, for example, IBZ partners (see list on p. 13). Likewise, it is used mainly to supply energy for commercial multi-family and business properties, not single- or two-family homes.