Iceland was quick to recognise the opportunities offered by hydrogen and fuel cells for the transport sector – but has unfortunately made little of them to date. At the end of the last millennium, the Nordic island was regarded as a pioneer in the field of hydrogen, because it considered the vision of a sustainable hydrogen economy to be quite feasible.
For years there has been a discrepancy in the hydrogen sector between North America and Europe: Over on the other side of the Atlantic, fuel cell-powered industrial trucks are enjoying great popularity, while their number in Germany is more in keeping with homoeopathic doses.
The BDR Thermea Group commissioned a hydrogen-powered boiler at the end of June 2019. The pilot plant, which was developed at the BDR-Thermea competence centre for research and development in Italy, is located in Rozenburg, the Netherlands, and is supplied with sustainably produced hydrogen by the regional gas network operator Stedin, who also initiated the project.
Fuel cell propulsion systems are not only being developed for unmanned aircraft, hydrogen is also increasingly becoming a topic in passenger transport. The US space agency NASA, for example, together with the engineering school of the University of Illinois, is constructing electric aircraft using liquid hydrogen and fuel cells.
Against the background of climate change, the reduction of greenhouse gases in the transport sector is increasingly coming to the fore. At present, electrically operated and in particular battery-powered vehicles (BEV) are of great importance.
The city of Perth in southwestern Australia was already one of twelve cities worldwide at the beginning of the 21st century that tested fuel cell buses in local transport. After that, however, the energy-rich country no longer emerged as a major promoter of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. And why should it? After all, the country has huge reserves of fossil fuels, precious metals and rare earth metals. But is that really reason enough not to look for alternatives?
Atomic hydrogen partly diffuses into materials during production and operation. If this results in degradation of the material properties, the term hydrogen embrittlement is used. The Fraunhofer IWM has set itself the task of better understanding and mastering such chemical processes and their consequences. For this purpose, a new laboratory for material qualification for hydrogen applications has now been set up.
The idea of using hydrogen as energy storage entered the political mainstream a long time ago. The coalition agreement between the Christian and the Social Democrats in Germany includes several direct references to hydrogen and fuel cells, while a few other parties have made the technologies part of their platforms as well.
It is with great sadness that we report the death of Robert Rose, a pioneering force and a strong proponent of a future hydrogen economy. He passed away peacefully in the morning hours of October 17, 2018, at his home in Woodbridge, Virginia, after battling a long illness.
A small, decentralized power-to-gas system was started up in a residential development in Augsburg, Germany, at the beginning of this year. Exytron, the Rostock-based manufacturer of the installation, said it was the first of its kind around the globe to store surplus renewable electricity in synthetic natural gas and extract power when needed. With the help of the company’s SmartEnergyTechnology, “the system reduces emissions by 70 percent to 100 percent,” said the business’s sales director, Klaus Schirmer.