Self-sufficiency solutions get ready for market

Off-grid living in Germany and Australia

The Australian LAVO ™ module
The Australian LAVO™ module, © Lavo

Energy self-sufficiency, a dream for a number of homeowners, is now gradually becoming a reality. As isolated projects have already demonstrated, it is perfectly feasible to forgo a conventional grid connection and have a property’s entire energy needs met by renewables alone. The technology that makes this possible is on the tipping point of serial production following years of development, a move that could also bring the price down to a more acceptable level in the not too distant future.

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Hydrogen neighborhoods in the making

Supplying zero-carbon energy to entire districts

© Neue Weststadt

An increasing number of building projects are now incorporating an energy supply based on hydrogen and fuel cells. Given the targets set out in the Paris climate agreement, the current thinking is clearly to avoid designing new housing developments that are dependent on fossil fuels and instead switch entirely to renewables. Due to the high expense that is sometimes associated with innovative energy technology, it makes sense to maximize the number of users. Residential neighborhoods in particular, which may run from several dozen homes to a hundred properties, are one way of making this alternative approach worthwhile.

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Wait continues for hydrogen heating

Hydrogen Boiler - Remeha Hydra - BDR
Remeha Hydra © BDR

Are fuel cell appliances fed by natural gas fit for the future?

Fuel cell heating appliances have now been on the market for several years. The choice, however, is limited and the prices are high, which explains the slow growth in the number of installations. Yet, perhaps there are other reasons why this section of the market has yet to pick up. For although there is currently a great deal of funding available for initiatives that encourage a switch to energy-efficient heating appliances, particularly when upgrading from an outdated oil-fired system, fuel cell heating units – just like condensing boilers – have the drawback of burning natural gas, thus making them a source of carbon dioxide emissions.

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The bigger picture brings greater justice

Future accounting calculates sustainability

Christian Hiß
Hiss: “They key is to change the way we account for profits and losses.”

Money makes the world go round. Companies seek to maximize profits, countries their GDPs. In both cases, we are dealing with figures in dollars, euros or some other currency. But what about values or services without a price tag? Such as employee health. The advice and expertise of colleagues freshly retired. What is the long-term cost of cutting down a forest? How expensive is sustainable (or industrial) farming? So far, most accounting revolves solely around financial issues.

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Put it on the agenda

Christoph von Knobelsdorff

Interview with NOW chief executive Kurt-Christoph von Knobelsdorff

As of May 15, 2020, the National Organization for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW) has a new chief executive. Formerly Klaus Bonhoff, who has moved to the German transportation ministry, his successor is Kurt-Christoph von Knobelsdorff. Now is the time to take stock and ask what the future holds.

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The catalyst miracle

The growing importance of nickel, tin and copper

Iridium required to meet the 2030 targets set in the EU’s hydrogen strategy
Heraeus
© Heraeus

New times call for new ideas – and new materials. A global increase in electrification calls for new chemical products. Petroleum catalysts are a major component of the fossil fuel era and must be replaced. The current battle for rare natural resources and chemicals makes it all the more important to invest in research on inexpensive, readily available alternatives. Evidence points to nickel, tin and copper, and their undiscovered properties, as cheaper options. Good news for the electrolyzer and fuel cell industries.

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Political leaders just love hydrogen

On AFID, EEG, IPCEI, RED II and the Green Deal

German economy minister Peter Altmaier defines the launch of IPCEI Hydrogen as a “huge success.”
Altmaier, © BMWi/Andreas Mertens

Leaders are in the hot seat. The German government is expected to fix it all – the Covid-19 crisis, the climate crisis, the energy crisis, and the auto industry crisis. Summit after summit after summit. We’re hearing an awful lot from the chancellor, ministers, business leaders and lobbyists these days. And comparably little from parliament, where the laws are actually passed. But which political topics or summits are truly relevant to hydrogen and fuel cell technology?

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Hydrogen-powered aviation

Aviation-Cover

In June 2020, the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking and the Clean Sky Joint Undertaking published their report “Hydrogen-powered aviation – A fact-based study on hydrogen technology, economics, and climate impact by 2050.” H2-international took advantage of the opportunity to ask FCH JU executive director Bart Biebuyck the following two questions:

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Digital H2 events

What’s (not) hot at HOC, H2.0 and WindEnergy

Trade shows and conferences

HOC

How do you report on a conference you attended from your office chair or couch at home? Were you able to attend closely to each and every online presentation and workshop? I have to admit, I find webinars and online trade shows difficult to handle. I feel I have yet to develop a sense for how well (or not) attendees receive these offers, for the prevailing mood among exhibitors and speakers, and for where the real news is.

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National Strategy, Green Deal and Covid-19

Now that’s what you call luck. Right around the editorial deadline of our sister magazine HZwei, the German government debated, passed and presented its strategy to support the hydrogen and fuel cell industry.

Five federal ministries were involved in drafting the strategy. Their compromise agreement sets a 2030 target of “only” 5 gigawatts in installed electrolyzer capacity, not 10, as the German science minister Anja Karliczek strongly proposed.

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