The World of Energy Solutions (WES) is slowly turning into a battery-only exhibition. The event, whose most recent instalment took place in Stuttgart from Oct. 12 to 14, 2015, was originally launched as the regional fuel cell conference f-cell. Fifteen years ago, a small number of hydrogen and fuel cell experts met in the House of Economy in Stuttgart to talk about their research at test labs and workshops. The conference was accompanied by a small exhibition showcasing products of businesses mostly based in Germany’s Swabia region.
Messe Düsseldorf and the European Association for Renewable Energy (EUROSOLAR) agreed at the end of last October to work together more closely in the future. They signed a collaboration agreement to better link the International Renewable Energy Storage Conference (IRES) with the Energy Storage Europe (ESE). The tenth year since its inception will see IRES – which is considered by its organizers to be the “leading conference on research and social aspects of energy storage” – merge with ESE, a conference primarily focused on economic and financial issues.
Europe’s first research facility to test the storage opportunities for hydrogen at former natural gas reservoirs was inaugurated last fall in Austria’s city of Pilsbach. On October 5, Austria‘s Minister for Transport, Innovation and Technology, Alois Stöger, celebrated the inauguration of the plant, which is part of the EUR 4.5 million project Underground Sun Storage
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.
Despite the fact that the envisioned number of 800 fuel cell heating systems was not even close to have been achieved, there was a lot of praise going around when the partners of the Callux project celebrated the completion of the Field Test of Residential Fuel Cells on Nov. 26, 2015. In the Erich Klausener Hall at the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) in Berlin, Parliamentary State Secretary Norbert Barthle
Most of his working life, Thorsten Herdan held jobs in the industry developing combustion technology. After having been elected secretary-general of the International Council on Combustion Engines, the mechanical engineer also served as chair of the Research Association for Combustion Engines for fourteen years. Since 1999, he has headed Power Systems, a sector group of the German Engineering Federation – from 2000 on, he has been responsible for Energy Policy there as well.
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.