I could be wrong, of course. But I feel like more and more members of the hydrogen community have had enough of people constantly talking about their favorite colors. During the past several months, we’ve seen debate after debate about the pros and cons of green, blue and turquoise hydrogen. First in Germany, now in Brussels.
Delivering a bright future through collaboration and innovation
In December 2020 Scotland became the first country in the UK to publish a hydrogen policy statement, six months after publication of the German hydrogen strategy. This sets out Scotland’s vision for hydrogen and how we can maximize our massive potential in the sector. Our accompanying Hydrogen Assessment Report appraised the potential for hydrogen to be deployed to help achieve our stretching decarbonization targets. Its economic impact scenarios concluded that Scotland has the potential to deliver up to 126 terawatt-hours of green hydrogen per year by 2045, up to 96 terawatt-hours of them for export. This would protect or create between 70,000 and over 300,000 jobs – in a population of 5.5 million – and deliver gross value-added impacts of between GBP 5 billion and GBP 25 billion.
Two truck heavyweights become partners
Volvo and Daimler have substantiated their plans to use hydrogen for large long-distance trucks. During an online presentation event at the end of April 2021, Martin Lundstedt, President of the Volvo Group, specifically named the high possible payloads and the long ranges as decisive criteria for the use of fuel cell technology. He also held out the prospect of large-scale production starting after 2025 and a gigafactory for fuel cells being built by then. Initially, pre-series production is to take place in Esslingen near Stuttgart. The final location question is to be clarified in 2022.
Hydrogen set to play a vital part in green growth strategy
In 2017, Japan became the first industrialized nation to set out its national hydrogen plan. As part of the hydrogen society strategy, massive investments have been made in pioneering pilot projects, albeit with a clear focus on the importation of blue hydrogen. The Japanese hydrogen roadmap foresees expansion on the user side – through fuel cell vehicles, mini combined heat and power units in buildings, and the energy supply – as well as infrastructure build-out and, above all, the rapid establishment of supply chains abroad. And thanks to the Japanese government’s new climate target and green growth strategy, hydrogen has now assumed an even greater significance.
After years of silence regarding Opel’s fuel cell activities, the German automobile manufacturer came back in mid-May 2021 with an H2 van Vivaro-e Hydrogen – and with it the French sister companies Peugeot and Citroën, both of which also belong to the parent company Stellantis. The major corporation designed its own “mid-power plug-in hydrogen fuel cell electric system” for the three brands, consisting of a 100-kW drive combined with a 45-kW fuel cell from the French manufacturer Symbio and a high-voltage power storage unit.
The Olympic flame is to burn with hydrogen for the first time at this Olympics. H2 gas is already being used in the “baton”, which is modelled on a cherry blossom, during the torch relay – at least on some stages. The green hydrogen needed comes from Fukushima. An official from Japan’s energy agency said: “This will raise public awareness of the important role hydrogen is to play in the future.”
It seems like Nikola Motors [Nasdaq: NKLA] was able to stop the bleeding of the past few months. The stock is rising again. Up to 30 million shares are now traded each day, a comparatively high volume for the company. The new-found optimism among investors seems to stem from reports about Nikola’s recent progress in meeting its targets. Construction of the Arizona factory is well underway. Then there are new production facilities being built in Ulm, Germany. And another boost for the stock came when competitor Daimler Truck announced its intention to have 5,000 hydrogen-fueled heavy-duty vehicles on the road over the next few years, with business partner Shell providing the fueling infrastructure. Sounds a lot like Nikola’s business model, the difference being that Nikola will produce its own hydrogen, and be able to keep the revenue, instead of outsourcing the task to another company.
Where have we made considerable progress in developing hydrogen technology? In what market are there still hurdles to overcome? Where do we still need to remove roadblocks to innovation? Answering questions like these is the task of Hydrogen Compass, a two-year project launched by the German education and economy ministries and funded with EUR 4.2 million.
Interview with Gerald Linke, DVGW chairman
The German gas and water industries association DVGW has for some time been increasing its efforts in relation to hydrogen. In early 2018, it entered into initial negotiations with the German Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association, DWV, with the aim of intensifying the cooperation between the two organizations. At the end of 2020, DWV members voted overwhelmingly in favor of the partnership proposed by the board. What unites these two associations and what could the gas industry look like in the future? Gerald Linke, DVGW chairman, shared his views with H2-international.
“Who cares if H2 production is inefficient? Free is still free!”
Mike Strizki is more than infatuated with hydrogen. He’s dedicated to it, saying he has a lifelong commitment to the most plentiful element on Earth – that it is essential to bringing about zero emissions. And allowing his eight grandchildren to live healthier and more productive lives.