The hydrogen and fuel cell units deployed in heavy-duty applications have been mostly test systems for onboard energy supply. Even those systems are far from being finished products. The shared opinion among research and development laboratories is that the technologies could be used to power cars and trucks, but only up to a certain weight or load.
Germany is experiencing a further ramp-up of hydrogen filling stations. On July 31, two new ones started serving customers in Sindelfingen at the A81 freeway and in Pforzheim at the A8. The former, a Shell station southwest of Stuttgart, is in direct vicinity of the Daimler factory that houses the carmaker’s R&D facilities on fuel cell technologies. Stijn van Els, chair of the German Shell companies, said: “Hydrogen is a promising technological field. We expect this alternative engine fuel to play an increasingly stronger role in markets such as Germany, the Benelux countries, the UK and the US from the 2020s on.”
After one hydrogen filling station had each been installed in Wuppertal and Ulm in summer 2016, another three went into operation last fall. As reported previously (see Three New Hydrogen Filling Stations), the H2 pump at the Metzingen gas station south of Stuttgart came online on Sept. 23. Five days later, however, it had to be shut down again when a truck hit it. Its trailer had been caught in the pump, resulting in at least EUR 60,000 in damage.
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