Hydrogen to ensure clean future at Lake Constance

Hydrogen Regions, Part IV: HyExpert project – HyAllgäu

HYExpert

Before the start of the HyExperts study, the plethora of ideas surrounding hydrogen development in the Allgäu region near Lake Constance resembled a thread with many loose ends. But now thanks to the HyExperts funding program, backed by the German transport ministry and overseen by NOW, it’s been possible to quickly put forward concrete plans for a local field trial with the aim of producing and utilizing 1,000 metric tons of hydrogen a year in Allgäu. NOW’s HyLand initiative for the development of hydrogen regions in Germany has therefore given crucial impetus to the transformation of this area into a hydrogen economy.

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New hydrogen technology course

Bavarian university gets hydrogen experts on board

Skills compass for the mechanical engineering bachelor’s program at FHWS © FHWS
Skills compass for the mechanical engineering bachelor’s program at FHWS © FHWS

The mechanical engineering faculty at the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt, FHWS, is taking action to address the energy transition by developing a new hydrogen technology course. The move comes amid Bavaria’s drive to accelerate regional development through its Hightech Agenda program which is channeling investment into clean technologies. From October 2021, FHWS students should have the option to delve deeper into the subject of hydrogen, giving them the chance to pursue a career in this environmentally crucial area. The new course focuses particularly on the development and operation of hydrogen plants as well as plant and workplace safety. FHWS intends to shape the content of the course through continuous dialog with businesses and their specialist staff, with the expectation that this will lead to project collaborations at a later date.

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Element Eins and Hybridge stopped

Two prominent power-to-gas proposals – Hybridge and Element Eins – have received a rejection from Germany’s Federal Network Agency. The network operators Amprion and TenneT had hoped for an easing of regulations as part of the national hydrogen strategy (see H2-international, August 2020). However, the companies have now suffered a setback in a tussle that has since begun over future market share and profitable business areas.

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Coordination Office for Hydrogen opens

Portrait Philipp Braunsdorf © NOW
© NOW

Although Germany’s Coordination Office for Hydrogen officially launched at the end of last year, at that time it was not yet clear who would be working there or where it would be based. Premises are now due to be acquired in April, with central Berlin earmarked as the location. Taking up the leadership role is Philipp Braunsdorf from the National Organisation Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology, or NOW. He is supported in his role by two deputies, one from the German energy agency dena and the other from the non-profit company ZUG.

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Hydrogen reshapes energy industry

The reshaping of the energy landscape is well under way. And as the energy industry begins its transformation, it’s become apparent that hydrogen has a major role to play in the new world order – albeit not straightaway, but in the near future. Hence we see every imaginable organization jostling for position to take advantage of this restructuring and perhaps also to shape its direction.

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Fuel cell trains on the move

The Coradia iLint in Austria,
Alstom
© Alstom

The evocatively named Heidekrautbahn, or heather railroad, has a long history: Since 1905 it’s enabled city dwellers to escape from the German capital into the surrounding Schorfheide countryside to the north. However, efforts to resume the passenger service between Basdorf and Berlin-Gesundbrunnen, which was discontinued in 1983, have been drawn out over many years. On Dec. 14, 2020, a grant was due to be awarded that would make this rail link a vital part of a large-scale hydrogen project. According to the proposals, the trains would be powered by fuel cells using renewable energy supplied from regional sources and an electrolyzer would be acquired along with additional hydrogen vehicles. In spite of these preparations, the pandemic has, nevertheless, put the launch on hold.

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Green future envisaged for steel

HDR, © Eva Augsten
© Eva Augsten

ArcelorMittal plans to scrap the use of coke in steelmaking

Steel group ArcelorMittal has plans to build a pilot plant in Hamburg that will use hydrogen in its ore reduction process to produce pure iron as part of a construction project that is due to get underway in the third quarter of this year. In future, some of the gas could be supplied by a new hydrogen network that is being set up especially for the industrial park at the port.

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New direction for VDMA

The fuel cell working group of Germany’s association for the mechanical and plant engineering industry VDMA has been bolstered by the appointment of Fabian Kapp. At the general meeting held online in February 2021, the Gräbener Maschinentechnik director was elected to the board and now sits alongside four fellow board members. Kapp explained: “The working … Read more

Franco-German hydrogen cooperation

Philippe Boucly, © France Hydrogène
Philippe Boucly, © France Hydrogène

By the time of the next presidential election in 2022, France hopes to have regained the economic growth it last experienced in 2019. In order to stimulate the economy following the COVID-19 lockdown, the French government is rolling out a EUR 100 billion recovery program named France Relance. EUR 2 billion of the funds will be released over the next couple of years to support hydrogen projects. In total, the French government plans to channel EUR 7 billion of investment into this energy carrier in the runup to 2030. Meanwhile over the border, Germany has earmarked funds of EUR 9 billion to bolster its hydrogen sector. These financial stimulus packages and, moreover, the ambitions of these two countries to adopt a leadership stance in the future hydrogen economy, are also resulting in increasing efforts of French and German companies to work together.

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Fuel cell megawatt system for aviation

BALIS Test field
© DLR
© DLR

Hot on the heels of the fuel cell-powered motor glider HY4, which was awarded a test flight permit in late 2020 (see cover story in H2-international, February 2021), another venture was given the green light at the beginning of this year. As part of the follow-up BALIS project, whose approval arrived in just six weeks, the four-seater HY4 aircraft is set to become a 40-seater. On Jan. 21, Steffen Bilger, parliamentary state secretary at the German transportation ministry, handed over EUR 26 million in funding to Josef Kallo from the German aerospace center DLR.

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