Swiss Hydrogen, a manufacturer of fuel cell systems, has a new owner. Groupe E, an energy provider based in Switzerland, announced in late 2017 that it had sold its stake in the company to Plastic Omnium, a French supplier of auto parts. The latter also acquired the shares held by others, namely entrepreneur Marco Simeoni, venture capital firm Capital Risque Fribourg and the Paul Scherrer Institute, also known as PSI.
As early as last November, Switzerland saw the opening of its first public hydrogen station. But soon, it will create a whole new chapter with a fleet of hydrogen trucks to be brought into operation. A prototype has already been in use in the Zurich area.
There has been a steady rise in the number of power-to-gas plants in Germany. Systems at several dozen locations are now producing hydrogen based on eco-power. Despite some bureaucratic hurdles and technical complications that developers may face, planning and construction are typically uneventful processes. Not so in the German town of Grenzach-Wyhlen: There, the future neighbors of a planned power-to-gas system founded a citizens’ initiative to prevent it from being built.
It’s getting serious in Switzerland: Swiss utility IBAarau reported in mid-June 2016 that it had taken concrete steps to let the project initiated by H2 Energy and Coop Mineraloel (see Coop Sticks Around – Axpo Quits) become reality. IBAarau has recently submitted a building application to set up an H2 production system at the company’s hydropower plant in Aarau, Switzerland. The plant is said to provide 2% of its power generation for the envisioned electrolysis system plus compressor station from 2017 on.
In Switzerland, the initial trials for the development of an infrastructure for fuel cell vehicles are now underway. At the start of April 2015, a consortium of companies announced that the first public hydrogen filling station is to be built in early 2016. The fuel to be used there is to be produced sustainably using hydroelectric power. For this purpose, the energy services group Axpo, one of the biggest producers of renewable energy in the Alpine state, is planning to construct an electrolyzer directly adjacent to one of its existing run-of-the-river power plants. The hydrogen