California continues to move the needle in adopting more and more ambitious climate, energy and transportation goals, to improve air quality and reduce health impacts from emissions, and to develop a strong clean energy economy in the state that creates sustainable jobs.
I’m a hydronaut. No, that’s not a term for an underwater astronaut, but a term Honda uses to describe me, as one of their Clarity Fuel Cell electric vehicle (FCEV) drivers on California’s road today. Between three automakers (Honda, Toyota, Hyundai) there are now over 7,000 (Aug 1, 2019) FCEV’s on the road.
The reports are coming thick and fast: Chinese companies and some provinces are planning to initially invest US$17 billion in hydrogen technology. A master plan already provides for 1 million FC vehicles on the country’s roads in 2030.
FuelCell Energy’s shares have experienced a sharp drop for seemingly no reason. It may have been a tactic intended to push down the price, for example, to profit via short sale in anticipation of the fall and convert warrants later. That is pure speculation, of course, but people say these things have happened before. In any case, the most recent investment decisions seem to be an unmistakable sign that institutional investors believe in the company’s prospects and its technology.
Professor Eicke R. Weber stepped down from his position as director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in late 2016. He reportedly did so for age-related reasons, although a successor has not been named yet. Since 2006, Weber had been head of the Freiburg-based institute and professor of physics/solar energy at the University of Freiburg.
What furthered my interest in hydrogen was a presentation in 1989 by Joachim Gretz, the head of the EU’s Joint Research Center in Ispra, Italy, about the then running Quebec project. I had already been interested in the technology many years prior to that event: I can still remember clearly how the board chair of German Shell, Johannes Welbergen, told me during a conversation that H2 was the future for which we still had to wait
November 2015 saw the publication of the Fuel Cell Industry Review 2015, including market data and analyses for 2015. Since 2014, a team led by E4tech had contacted fuel cell companies around the globe, aggregated their supply figures and can now show the latest trends in the industry, much as Fuel Cell Today had done before its survey came to a halt. The following will present some excerpts from the review.
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).
The State of California is becoming more optimistic about early fuel cell vehicle sales, based on a survey of automakers. The fuel cell vehicle fleet is estimated to reach 34,300 by the end of 2021 (see chart). The estimate is high enough to raise concerns that California’s aggressive fueling station deployment program may fall short of demand.
What impact does the ongoing electrification of the automotive industry have? Which technology fields will be affected by the structural changes? What needs to be done not to lag behind? Questions like these are a concern especially to regions highly dependent on the car industry. In a search for answers, the State Agency for Electric Mobility and Fuel Cell Technology, e-mobil BW