Are batteries or fuel cells the more environmentally friendly, technically superior and economically prudent solution for electric transportation? Short answer: It depends.
The expansion of the H2 infrastructure continues – albeit much slower than it could be. The declared goal of having 100 hydrogen refuelling sites in Germany is expected to be achieved by mid-2020 – more than a year later than originally planned. By the end of 2021, 10 to 15 new locations are to be added each year.
Great Wall Motor (GWM) did not join H2 Mobility as originally planned. At the end of October 2018, a press release stated that the Chinese market leader for off-road vehicles and pickups wanted to invest in the German hydrogen filling station network. Nikolas Iwan, Managing Director of H2 Mobility, told the FAZ that he had contacted GWM at the beginning of 2018.
Since the number of hydrogen filling stations in Germany is unstoppably approaching the three-digit range, the inauguration celebrations are becoming smaller and the press releases fewer. Most recently, numerous high-ranking industry representatives and politicians appeared at the 50th H2 station in Potsdam.
The German H2 infrastructure is growing steadily. Early this year, Linde expanded its offering around Munich by turning the Linde Hydrogen Center in Unterschleissheim into a public refueling station. What had previously been the industrial gas supplier’s hydrogen R&D facility has been used since Jan. 12 to fill up fuel cell cars such as the ones owned by Linde’s subsidiary BeeZero.
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.
On May 1, 2016, Nikolas Iwan became the new CEO of H2 MOBILITY Germany. Iwan had previously worked for eight years in different management positions at Shell. His predecessor, Frank Sreball, who has had his own consultancy for management and interim management since 2005, had been the one originally setting up H2 MOBILITY on his own.
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).
Oct. 13, 2015, was the official start of activities for H2 Mobility Germany. After the joint-venture consisting of six industry partners had already been founded in January last year (see July 2015), the joint launch came in fall in the presence of the Federal Minister of Transport, Alexander Dobrindt, and all company representatives. This meant that the organization’s CEO, Frank Sreball, had nine months to familiarize himself with the issues
On the basis of the H2 Mobility initiative which was established in September 2009 – as previously announced – a joint venture has been initiated. At the end of 2014, the partners Air Liquide, Daimler, Linde, OMV, Shell and Total completed the final steps required to establish the company H2 Mobility Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG.