Fuel cell technology offers an immense opportunity for future emission-free mobility. One of the biggest challenges for their breakthrough, however, is the currently still high costs compared to the gasoline or diesel drives established on the market.
The success of marketing a new technology hinges on the number of people who know how to install, maintain and repair it properly. In 2014, the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking launched the KnowHy project to disseminate knowledge of fuel cell technologies that had reached near-market maturity. Supported by the European Commission’s 7th Framework Program, the project became more detailed as the years passed. Now fully developed, it will continue until 2020.
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.”
On June 24, 2016, French technology supplier Areva H2Gen inaugurated its first production facilities for PEM electrolysis systems in the presence of the country’s environment minister, Ségolène Royal. The new buildings are in Les Ulis near Paris, France, at the company’s main plant, which has seen a doubling in staff in the two years
As predicted several times before, #dieselgate is the driver of upcoming changes at German carmaker Volkswagen. In March 2016, it was said that the Wolfsburg-based corporation would concentrate all fuel cell activities at its Audi subsidiary. This will necessitate a move of most of the fuel cell research, which has so far been conducted in the German city of Salzgitter. Stefan Knirsch, board member and head of development at Audi, told the magazine Automobilwoche: “This January, the task of corporate research on fuel cell engines was given to Audi.” And VW’s board of directors had supported the concentration of activities.
The heart of PEM fuel cells is the membrane electrode assembly (MEA), which has so far been produced by using only polymer electrolyte membranes. The manufacture of these membranes, however, is highly complex and expensive, limiting MEA production to a few companies around the globe. An innovative method discovered by researchers from the Department of Microsystems Technology (IMTEK) at the University of Freiburg makes the membrane process technology obsolete
Over a construction period lasting two years, Air Liquide has constructed a new natural gas reformer in Dormagen. The French gases company has invested approximately 100 million Euros in the facility which is situated at the Chempark industrial park near Leverkusen, Germany, with the goal of producing hydrogen
The Fuel Cells Working Group in the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) has presented its new Fuel Cell Business Survey. To gather the latest data, the working group completed a survey of approximately 60 members and calculated representative figures on the basis of 40 substantial answers. According to the comments made by the director of the working group Johannes Schiel, “2014 didn’t go so well”. The turnover in the fuel cells industry in Germany with commercially available FC heating devices and power supply systems in 2014 was only a moderate EUR 70 million, after EUR 50 million in 2013. As, according to Schiel, these figures correspond