The German pavilion at the 13th FC Expo held from March 1 through 3 this year in Japan’s capital was packed with exhibitors. One of the members of the joint booth was again the H2BZ-Initiative Hessen. Birgit Scheppat, board member and professor at RheinMain University of Applied Sciences, traveled for the fair to Tokyo and reports for H2-international on her experiences.
“Everything has progressed at a much faster pace than I expected,” Guido Gummert, formerly CEO of SOLIDpower, had told the Aachener Nachrichten in early 2017. What he meant was the rapid turnaround at Ceramic Fuel Cells after it filed for bankruptcy in March 2015. After SOLIDpower took over Ceramic Fuel Cells, business recovered fast, but now Gummert left the Italian-based manufacturer of stationary fuel cells at the end of February 2017 at his own request.
After last year’s project of a 1.4 MW fuel cell power plant in Mannheim, energy supplier E.ON established a partnership with the Radisson Blu Hotel in Frankfurt, Germany, in mid-February 2017 to operate yet another industrial-grade fuel cell there. In addition to its distinct architectural features, the hotel is now to be equipped with a state-of-the-art energy system by FuelCell Energy Solutions. It is said to be installed during a fall 2017 project subsidized with EUR 800,000
Sector integration, flexibility, level playing field – these were the buzzwords during the Energy Storage from March 14 to 16, 2017, both at the trade show exhibits and during the conferences. They made it unmistakably clear that the main issues were no longer questions in basic research, but energy policy, competition and marketing.
The heating industry continues to move forward with establishing natural gas as the go-to source for the energy supply of residential buildings, while increasingly adding efficient fuel cell technologies and eco-gas to the mix. The members of the Zukunft Erdgas advocacy group expect oil to no longer play an important role as an energy carrier in the medium term, as they believe it will gradually be replaced by renewable gases. A recent study has shown that this could lead to an around 80 percent cut in CO2 emissions from heat supply.
The decentralized production of hydrogen from eco-power – whether used to stabilize the grid or utilize excess capacities – will play an increasingly larger role in future energy systems. The created hydrogen can either be stored locally, converted to methane by adding carbon monoxide or fed directly into the natural gas network. The HylyPure project supported by the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund was the first opportunity
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 take a particularly important role within the technological shift away from fossil fuels towards renewable and alternative sources of energy. Plans for using renewably sourced hydrogen as an energy carrier (e.g., power-to-gas) in order to deal with periods of power oversupply have posed special challenges for the energy industry. In addition to environmental and economic considerations, the increase in the amount of hydrogen creates challenges for material use, since hydrogen may cause spontaneous failures
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