The scientists on Ulm’s Eselsberg might have experienced a real roller coaster ride of emotions at the beginning of July 2019. First came the no to the battery location, but then the yes to the fuel cell location.
The Saxon city of Chemnitz is increasingly developing into a Mecca for hydrogen enthusiasts. On July 17, 2019, the Technical University there and the company Continental Powertrain will open a new H2 laboratory equipped with a test rig for researching modern fuel cell vehicle systems.
Fuel cell systems are also of great interest for use in drones due to their higher range compared to pure battery systems. For several years, research and development has been carried out in this field of aeronautical engineering, whereby the focus is not always on playful activities.
During this year’s f-cell, which took place on 10 and 11 September 2019 in Stuttgart, a look into the future was taken and the question of how hydrogen can make the transport sector more climate-friendly was answered.
The Managing Director of the National Organisation for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology GmbH, Dr. Klaus Bonhoff, will leave NOW and will in future be head of the Policy Department at the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI). He will thus occupy a central position within the ministry and, according to Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer, will focus in particular on the “mobility of the future”.
On 2 July 2019, Sebastian Kurz, chairman of the new Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), and his party colleague Elisabeth Köstinger jointly presented their climate protection package. The goal formulated therein is to make the Alpine republic CO2-neutral by 2045. According to Kurz, hydrogen should play a key role in this process: “This is not only a clean alternative hope for the future in the field of mobility, but also a great opportunity for Austria to become the world’s number one hydrogen nation.
Fuel cell propulsion systems are not only being developed for unmanned aircraft, hydrogen is also increasingly becoming a topic in passenger transport. The US space agency NASA, for example, together with the engineering school of the University of Illinois, is constructing electric aircraft using liquid hydrogen and fuel cells.
Against the background of climate change, the reduction of greenhouse gases in the transport sector is increasingly coming to the fore. At present, electrically operated and in particular battery-powered vehicles (BEV) are of great importance.
The city of Perth in southwestern Australia was already one of twelve cities worldwide at the beginning of the 21st century that tested fuel cell buses in local transport. After that, however, the energy-rich country no longer emerged as a major promoter of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. And why should it? After all, the country has huge reserves of fossil fuels, precious metals and rare earth metals. But is that really reason enough not to look for alternatives?
Although hydrogen produced from renewable energies has been under discussion for decades as a possible alternative to fossil fuels, it has so far only played a minor role. Recently, however, there have been signs of change, so that “green” hydrogen could gain momentum in the energy sector: More and more powerful electrolysis systems are available, and the prices for these systems are falling. If, however, PEM electrolysers were to be added on a large scale, iridium could become scarce and thus more expensive and thus stand in the way of a reduction in the already considerable investment costs.