The German CHP Act (KWKG) has been a long-time source of subsidies for stationary units producing heat and power as efficiently as possible. Once every few years, these types of laws are revised and naturally, the revisions spark heated debates months before any political decision is made. Just in the nick of time – shortly before the end of last year – the Bundesrat finally approved the CHP Act 2016, so that it could go into effect on January 1.
An autonomous fuel cell system developed jointly by several research partners does a quiet job of converting diesel fuel into electrical energy – without the help of an engine or generator. When the project supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy reached its conclusion, the technical maturity of the system was demonstrated with success during stand-alone operation of the fuel cell stack and the power module.
Another hydrogen filling station has been brought into operation, this time in Fellbach, north-east of Stuttgart. The fifth of its kind in Baden-Wurttemberg is a multi-energy station by Total. It operates with 700 bar of filling pressure and is supplied by hydrogen generated on-site through solar and wind power. The inauguration ceremony in the presence of representatives from politics and members of the Clean Energy Partnership was held on Oct. 1, 2015.
Innovative projects are something of a tradition at Stuttgart Airport: Echterdingen is home to several fuel cell airplane models, Baden-Wurttemberg’s first public hydrogen filling station set up in 2009 and hybrid technology field tests since 1991. The most recent project involves field-testing six electrically powered buses for regular day-to-day use.
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.
Many big boys – as the leading US investment banks are called – have given Tesla an unquestionably positive rating. CEO Elon Musk understands how to polarize as well as convince analysts, but at the end of the day only hard facts count. The Credit Suisse analyst specializing in the field already expects a profit of US$ 4.00 per share for fiscal year 2016, since there had allegedly been so many orders for Model X, which would impact earnings.
Dear Reader, I would like to present you with some short number examples: The German Callux program installed 474 fuel-cell heating systems within eight years; the original target was 800. Japan currently has over 140,000 of these systems. The German 50 Filling Station program was supposed to set up 50 H2 filling stations until the end of 2015. In the end, there were only 19. Until the middle of 2016, another 23 are said to be added. Meanwhile, Japan has already had 80 of these stations in operation (On a side note, the CEP predecessor, the Verkehrswirtschaftliche Energiestrategie, had envisioned 2,000 public H2 filling stations until 2010).
Oct. 13, 2015, was the official start of activities for H2 Mobility Germany. After the joint-venture consisting of six industry partners had already been founded in January last year (see July 2015), the joint launch came in fall in the presence of the Federal Minister of Transport, Alexander Dobrindt, and all company representatives. This meant that the organization’s CEO, Frank Sreball, had nine months to familiarize himself with the issues
At the end of last year, Heliocentris Energy Solutions selected Sabine Kauper to become CFO of the company. Having graduated in business administration, she has been specializing in taxation and auditing and assumed her new position at the Berlin-based fuel-cell manufacturer on Jan. 1, 2016. She has filled the gap left by her predecessor, Andras Gosztonyi, who parted ways with Heliocentris in 2014.