What furthered my interest in hydrogen was a presentation in 1989 by Joachim Gretz, the head of the EU’s Joint Research Center in Ispra, Italy, about the then running Quebec project. I had already been interested in the technology many years prior to that event: I can still remember clearly how the board chair of German Shell, Johannes Welbergen, told me during a conversation that H2 was the future for which we still had to wait
“Through the first six weeks of this year alone, we received more requests than during all of 2015,” Andreas Frömmel from German FuelCell Energy Solutions reported during the E-world 2016. That should come as no surprise: Large-scale fuel cell plants have gained in popularity ever since the German parliament amended the CHP Act at the end of last year and put the transition rules on paper (see New Rule for Fuel Cell Heating Systems). Plants ordered until the end of 2016 and built by the end of 2017 can still receive the full CHP benefits as per the CHP Act from 2012 – independently of their power output. This section of the law will benefit even megawatt-size power plants.
Both the author Arno A. Evers and the publishing house Hydrogeit Verlag decided to donate the book The Hydrogen Society – More Than Just a Vision? to the worldwide H2-community. This book written by Arno A. Evers was published in April 2010 on the annual Hanover Fair where the author had established a global meeting point for companies and interested people
It was exactly last Christmas that the Springer publishing company started to offer a new specialist book on Hydrogen and Fuel Cells. The book takes a broad approach toward the topic, including everything from H2 generation to future fuel cell applications. The editors are Dr. Johannes Töpler, Chair of the German Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (DWV), and Professor Jochen Lehmann, also from DWV’s management board. The industry professionals asked renowned experts to enrich their 281-page book with chapters full of know-how and expertise on their specialist subjects.
Not too long ago, France’s capital had been the venue for the UN Climate Change Conference COP21. Even if hydrogen and fuel cell technology was not a separate item on the agenda, it is a good bet that many of the around 40,000 participants – from government officials to business associations and unions to environmental and religious organizations – have developed a basic understanding of this technology
Umicore and Solvay, the former mother companies of SolviCore, sold their joint venture in July 2015 to Toray Industries, a chemical company based in Japan. On Jan. 1, 2016, business management was handed over to Greenerity, a 100% subsidiary of Toray. SolviCore was founded in 2006 as a specialist for membrane-electrode assemblies (MEA). The headquarters in Hanau-Wolfgang is said to be kept, as is the entire staff.
The fuel-cell companies quoted on the stock exchange have used 2015 perfectly to strengthen their market positions. These efforts have resulted in more orders, improved balance sheets, increased capital and some very important strategic collaborations as well trendsetting product developments. This lets us conclude for 2016 that probably most of these companies – if not all – will be able to become cash-flow positive or even generate sustainable profits after many years of preparing for this moment.
Ballard Power is placing a bigger focus on China, evidenced by the various agreements with Chinese companies from the field of bus manufacturing and the development of hydrogen-driven rail vehicles. According to company information, the Canadian fuel-cell manufacturer paid special attention to only collaborate with known, reputable partners, whether big or small, which enjoy their own location advantages.
At the end of June 2015, Audi signaled that it also wanted to develop its Q6 as a fuel-cell version. The VW subsidiary had already announced the new crossover car with an internal combustion engine at the beginning of last year, after it presented the A7 Sportback h-tron Quattro (see figure) in Los Angeles at the end of 2014 as another hydrogen prototype (see HZwei issue from January 2015). During 2015, the announcement by the carmaker
Regarding fuel cells, a challenging and important issue are still the catalysts. To a considerable degree, they determine both the performance of stacks and their price. Currently, the most different nanoparticles are being examined in the most different structural combinations. This is also true for the field of water splitting, where catalysts are employed in electrolysis systems. The jury is still out on which materials could ultimately replace platinum in both cases, so work on the required catalyst quantity continues.