Hydrogen for aviation

Fuel cell propulsion systems are not only being developed for unmanned aircraft, hydrogen is also increasingly becoming a topic in passenger transport.

In 2018, the Element One project was launched to transport four passengers over distances of 500 to 5,000 km, ©
HES Energy Systems, Singapore

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.

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Hydrogen as an export product

Up to now Australia has exported mainly liquid natural gas and coal - in the future also hydrogen
Up to now Australia has exported mainly liquid natural gas and coal – in the future also hydrogen, © BHP Billiton: Coal transport Australia Rail

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?

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Effect of hydrogen on materials

Stress-strain curves of hollow samples filled with hydrogen or nitrogen, with an internal pressure of 70 bar, tested at a draw-off rate of 3.5 µm/min.
Stress-strain curves of hollow samples filled with hydrogen or nitrogen, with an internal pressure of 70 bar, tested at a draw-off rate of 3.5 µm/min.

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.

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Broad support for Efficiency First

Logos of German political parties
Logos of German political parties.

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.

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Power-to-Gas in Augsburg Residential Development

Energy cycle
Energy cycle of a multifamily building, © Exytron

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.

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Incentives for electrolyzers

On Nov. 14, 2017, the National Organization Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology extended the list of eligible technologies in the NIP 2 rollout program to include electrolyzers producing hydrogen at gas stations. These new incentives could mark an important milestone in the country’s infrastructure buildup. Their implementation was a response to the drumbeat of criticism levelled at the authors of NIP 2, who were said to have ignored the technology altogether.

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Off Across the Pond

SPI20172017 is the first year Deutsche Messe and Tobias Renz Fair, the organizer of the annual joint Hydrogen + Fuel Cells + Batteries booth in Hanover, Germany, will manage a stateside group exhibit called Hydrogen + Fuel Cells North America, the US counterpart of Germany’s industry meeting. From Sept. 10 through 13, the most important solar trade show and the largest energy storage event in North America – Solar Power International boasting 700 exhibitors and 20,000 attendees and Energy Storage International, respectively – will run in parallel at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

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Ten Years of HZwei News

HZwei_Nr_01_2006_Cover
HZwei Cover April 2006

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.

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