A consortium comprising Air Liquide, Daimler, Linde, OMV, Shell and Total have agreed a plan for the construction of a nationwide hydrogen refuelling network for fuel cell-powered vehicles in Germany.
Known as the ‘H2 Mobility’ initiative, the six firms aim to expand the current network of 15 filling stations in Germany to 400 by 2023 at a cost of €350m ($473m).
The ultimate objective is to offer a hydrogen station equivalent to at least every 90 km of motorway.
Daimler currently has about 200 Mercedes B-Class F-Cell cars on the road. It aims to introduce a fuel cell electric vehicle on the market in 2017, likely to be another B-Class.
Speaking at the F-Cell/Batteries+Storage conference in Stuttgart on 30 September, Daimler’s Chief Environmental Officer Professor Herbert Kohler said: “We are very satisfied with the 500-700km range of fuel cell vehicles and developing new hydrogen filling stations will be a big help to sell more cars,” adding the next 100 filling stations would be operational within four years.
The F-Cell/Batteries+Storage conference also saw the official launch of the state of Baden-Württemberg’s ‘Fuel Cell Cluster’ in an ambitious attempt to make it a global centre of excellence for the hydrogen economy.
The ‘cluster’ will be co-ordinated by e-mobil BW, the state agency for electric mobility and fuel cell technology in Baden-Wuerttemberg. It effectively combines and supercedes the state-funded Cluster of Excellence Electric Mobility South West established in 2010 and federally-funded Living Lab BWe, set up in 2011.
Franz Loogen, managing director of e-mobil BW, said the cluster would help Germany develop cutting edge whole-line production techniques to be an exporter rather than an importer of fuel cell technology. “For example, Baden-Württemberg companies could develop techniques to reduce electrolyte filling time, meaning faster production and lower cost,” he said.
Loogen added Germany’s ambitions to turn wind power into hydrogen gas via electrolysis could boost local manufacturers of electrolysers. Meanwhile, e-mobil BW has published its roadmap, Baden-Württemberg – Kompetenz in Elektromobilität (Competence in Electric Mobility).
The report, in German, can be downloaded at http://www.e-mobilbw.de