In 1883, the War of the Pacific, also known as the Saltpeter War, ended with the victory of Chile over Peru and Bolivia and Chile’s annexation of the Tarapacá and Antofagasta regions. But why go to war over the world’s driest desert? The area was rich in gold, albeit not the traditional kind.
In June 2019, mere weeks before stepping down as British prime minister, Theresa May committed the United Kingdom to an ambitious new target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The amendment to the Climate Change Act made the UK the first G7 nation to enshrine net-zero emissions in law. This toughened stance has resulted in carbon dioxide reduction becoming a more pressing issue than ever.
Vårgårda, a small town in the south west of Sweden, took a crucial step toward more sustainable public housing when it turned six apartment blocks into energy-independent buildings by using a combination of PV solar panels, batteries and hydrogen fuel cells.
Besides replacing old devices to put in newer, more efficient ones, there also seems to be a trend toward more complex solutions. For example, Sunfire expects that at some point, entire neighborhoods will be supplied with energy through a combination of solar PV, heat pump and large fuel cell devices. These multi-energy residential systems will no longer produce heat and power for individual buildings but several residential units at once.
The Port of Emden located close to the German / Dutch border, recently announced plans to study the technical and economic feasibility of converting excess wind energy into hydrogen.
Among all German states, Brandenburg has had the most trouble striking the right balance between its fossil and renewable sources of energy. Many jobs in the south of state depend on lignite mining, while large wind farms have been put up in the north and around Berlin. The state government, a coalition of The Left and the SPD, has been trying for years to find an equitable solution to its very own energy dilemma.
I’ve been following the hydrogen and fuel cell industry for 20 years. In 1997, you couldn’t even call it a niche market. Back then, many engineers didn’t know the term “fuel cell” existed at all and hydrogen was just another element of the periodic table. Only a handful of companies were tinkering with metal hydride storage or phosphoric acid fuel cells. Within a few years, the technology became the latest development everyone in the automotive and heating industry was pinning their hopes on. But nothing came of the ambitious plans businesses were announcing. Even years later, the situation hadn’t changed.
Ten years ago, Hydrogeit Verlag printed its first issue of the HZwei magazine – the German counterpart of H2-international. Entitled “H2Tec” in 2000, the Magazine for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells had been published for six years prior under SunMedia before the people responsible for it intended to go their separate ways – because the industry hadn’t advanced as quickly as they had expected.
Europe’s first research facility to test the storage opportunities for hydrogen at former natural gas reservoirs was inaugurated last fall in Austria’s city of Pilsbach. On October 5, Austria‘s Minister for Transport, Innovation and Technology, Alois Stöger, celebrated the inauguration of the plant, which is part of the EUR 4.5 million project Underground Sun Storage
Looking at the share prices for fuel cell companies that are being traded on the stock exchange right now, one could be forgiven for thinking that a crash had just taken place. It is as if the technical breakthroughs in the further development of the fuel cells had never taken place, and as though the production, storage and use of hydrogen had zero chance of achieving any success. Yet in fact, the opposite is the case. Right now we are at the start of a new mega trend, and in 2015,