Since this summer, Germany has been able to offer eco-conscious drivers two more opportunities to fill up their hydrogen tanks. The first new station went online in Wuppertal on June 19 and is viewed as the prototype for the planned nationwide H2 infrastructure, according to the Clean Energy Partnership. The project supported by EUR 670,000 consisted of the addition of a hydrogen fuel pump to the Shell gas station
On June 24, 2016, French technology supplier Areva H2Gen inaugurated its first production facilities for PEM electrolysis systems in the presence of the country’s environment minister, Ségolène Royal. The new buildings are in Les Ulis near Paris, France, at the company’s main plant, which has seen a doubling in staff in the two years
On July 8, the Renewable Energy Sources Act 2017 (EEG 2017) was passed by both houses of the German parliament. Its most important addition is that from 2017 on, “rather than being fixed by the government, future rates of renewables funding will be determined by the market by means of dedicated auction schemes,” the economy ministry announced. Whereas the parliamentary opposition and several environmental associations have criticized the EEG 2017, the BMWi described it as the “next phase of the energy transition.”
Construction of MEKS, Sperenberg’s multi-energy power plant, now entirely hinges on state government approval. In mid-July, the mayors of the four German towns involved signed a contract for the establishment of a community working group. But whereas local authorities would certainly welcome MEKS, the ones at state level have put a hold on the project, saying the selected area was not suitable for the construction of wind power facilities.
On Aug. 1, 2016, the heating industry got the certainty they wanted with regard to the future policy framework for state-of-the-art fuel cell heating systems: The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) announced two new subsidy programs, one providing an investment grant for fuel cell heating systems and one for optimizing heating technology by replacing old pumps. Both financial measures are part of the Incentive Program Energy Efficiency (APEE)
Around 40% of the final energy in Germany is consumed by the building sector. About 85% of it is used for heating and hot water preparation. However, many heating boilers both in the private and public sector are outdated. Installing an efficient fuel cell heating system could save a great deal of energy and reduce CO2 emissions.
As expected, German Heliocentris Energy Solutions filed for bankruptcy at the beginning of October 2016. After there had been a delay of several days before the required quarterly figures were finally published, an ad hoc notification was sent out on Oct. 11, 2016, saying that the management board of the Berlin-based fuel cell manufacturer would open bankruptcy proceedings before the Berlin-Charlottenburg municipal court for all group companies headquartered in Germany.
Heliocentris was founded in 1995 as a supplier of teaching materials. After a successful takeover bid for P21 in 2011, the company headquartered in Berlin, Germany, diversified its business activities and has since expanded its product portfolio to include hybrid power solutions for energy management, particularly for customers in the telecommunications sector. The expressed aim of the business – “Substitute diesel units by fuel cells” – has remained and has likewise sparked much investment in electrolysis systems.
With great fanfare, Tesla head Elon Musk announced what he had devised as a second masterplan. The corporation is not only to produce batteries for its Powerpack and Powerwall, but should also supply the added solar modules (takeover of sister company SolarCity is in progress). The new plan additionally includes aims to design several other electric cars – from trucks and smaller transport vehicles to buses.
The final decision on which company will be awarded the contract for the 63 MW Beacon Falls project should have already been made by the end of July 2016, but has since been moved to Sept. 5 and then to Oct. 26. The delays seem to be the result of additional bids that include wind and solar energy. In my opinion, the fuel cell plant offers significant benefits