Germany expands hydrogen station network

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 27 Sep 2016

Germany is fast moving towards a nationwide infrastructure development of hydrogen filling stations. On September 26, industry partners Daimler, Linde and OMV Deutschland inaugurated a new hydrogen station at Metzingen as part of the Clean Energy Partnership (CEP).

It is to be noted that 22 public hydrogen filling stations are already in operation, 8 of them in Baden-Württemberg.

The official inauguration was attended by the representatives of the companies involved, as well as by Norbert Barthle, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, and Ministerial Director Helmfried Meinel of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry for the Environment, Climate and Energy. 

Norbert Barthle said: "Clean mobility, rapid refuelling and long ranges are the advantages offered by fuel cell-based electric mobility. To help get the vehicles on the streets now, the Federal Ministry of Transport is sponsoring the establishment of 50 hydrogen filling stations across Germany with about 28 million euros. The Metzingen site is one of these stations, and will improve hydrogen supply in the Stuttgart metropolitan region.”

At the market launch of the innovative hydrogen and fuel cell technology, the focus of the infrastructure build-up is especially on the supply of metropolitan regions. The existing service stations already cover the Berlin, Hamburg, Rhine/Ruhr, Stuttgart and Munich metropolitan areas. The process of connecting them has already begun, and the network will be continuously expanded.

Within the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP), Daimler and Linde are contributing with a total investment volume of around euro 20 million. The construction of the first public hydrogen filling station in Baden-Württemberg at Stuttgart airport in 2009 was also a co-operation between OMV, Daimler and Linde. The federal state now has eight such refuelling sites. 

Helmfried Meinel said, "Hydrogen- and fuel cell-based technology opens up great opportunities for protecting the environment and the climate, and is an important element in ensuring the success of the transition to renewables. I firmly believe that hydrogen is the storage medium of the future, across multiple sectors.” 

Fuel cell-powered EVs

Electric mobility with fuel cell vehicles can help to considerably reduce transport-related CO2 emissions. The technology of such locally emission-free vehicles offers two major advantages compared to battery-powered vehicles: long ranges and short refuelling times. The infrastructure build-up is timed to coincide with the planned market ramp-up of fuel cell vehicles from various manufacturers. The technology is an integral part of Daimler’s drive system strategy. Vehicles like the B-Class F-Cell and the Citaro Fuel Cell-Hybrid urban bus have covered over 12 million kilometres to date, proving the market readiness of this powertrain.

From 2017, a new generation of vehicles based on the Mercedes-Benz GLC will be launched: for the first time, a lithium-ion battery plug-in will be used in a fuel cell-powered electric vehicle as an additional source of energy. 

Linde has many years of expertise across the entire hydrogen value chain, and has developed several proprietary compression technologies. In Vienna, the company operates the world's first small-series production line for hydrogen filling stations. The Metzingen site uses a compact, 700-bar refuelling technology that is also ideally suited for retrofitting existing, conventional stations. Linde uses its IC90 ionic compressor, which combines advantages in energy efficiency, maintenance, footprint and noise emissions.


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