This March, Shell presented a new study carried out in collaboration with the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy. Focusing on transportation, the authors compared several different production pathways for hydrogen and took a closer look at the three regions spearheading global development: Germany, Japan and the United States. Jörg Adolf, who headed the project at Shell, said that hydrogen technology had made big advances over the past years, “not just in car use.”
A new megatrend needs time to develop. The last 15 years established the foundation for the coming breakthrough of fuel cells and a steadily growing interest in their use. Here’s why: Historically, technological revolutions often needed 15 years before a breakthrough was achieved. But once you’re past that point, everything goes very quickly, since no market actor wants to remain on the sidelines. This is exactly what’s happening to the fuel cell across all markets and applications.
Around 40% of the final energy in Germany is consumed by the building sector. About 85% of it is used for heating and hot water preparation. However, many heating boilers both in the private and public sector are outdated. Installing an efficient fuel cell heating system could save a great deal of energy and reduce CO2 emissions.
Japan’s federal R,D&D budget for the 2016 fiscal year, which starts April 1, 2016, is 37.1 billion yen (285 million Euro), according to a recent report from Technova, a Japanese advanced technology consultancy. The total includes continuing support for the successful Ene-Farm residential fuel cell program, which will support an estimated 50,000 residential installations this year.
Umicore and Solvay, the former mother companies of SolviCore, sold their joint venture in July 2015 to Toray Industries, a chemical company based in Japan. On Jan. 1, 2016, business management was handed over to Greenerity, a 100% subsidiary of Toray. SolviCore was founded in 2006 as a specialist for membrane-electrode assemblies (MEA). The headquarters in Hanau-Wolfgang is said to be kept, as is the entire staff.
Despite the fact that the envisioned number of 800 fuel cell heating systems was not even close to have been achieved, there was a lot of praise going around when the partners of the Callux project celebrated the completion of the Field Test of Residential Fuel Cells on Nov. 26, 2015. In the Erich Klausener Hall at the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) in Berlin, Parliamentary State Secretary Norbert Barthle
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).
What impact does the ongoing electrification of the automotive industry have? Which technology fields will be affected by the structural changes? What needs to be done not to lag behind? Questions like these are a concern especially to regions highly dependent on the car industry. In a search for answers, the State Agency for Electric Mobility and Fuel Cell Technology, e-mobil BW
In the good-natured international race to deploy hydrogen fueling stations for fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV), Japan has taken a clear lead, with 74 stations approved to date, a dramatic jump from the 45 stations operating or under construction at the end of 2014. By comparison, California and Germany have about 50 stations in operation or under development.
Japan’s ENE-FARM program is arguably the most successful fuel cell commercialization program in the world. ENE-FARM has supported the deployment of well over 120,000 residential fuel cell units and is providing proof that long term public-private partnerships can push new technology into the marketplace. New models coming on the market in 2015 are smaller, more efficient, cheaper and more easily installed than previous models.