Hydrogen as an electricity-based clean fuel in transport

Regional refuelling station coverage by 2018/19 – Federal Transport Ministry and industry jointly pursue development goals

Berlin, 12.4.2016 – The energy system in Germany is on the verge of transformation – away from fossil fuels towards renewable energies. Hydrogen and fuel cell technology are key technologies for the integration of renewable energies in the energy sector as well as electricity-based fuels in the transport area. At the H2Mobility Congress – Fuel Cell Electromobility in Germany and throughout the World on 12 April 2016 at the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Federal Minister Alexander Dobrindt discusses with leading representatives from politics and industry how the drive of the future can successfully get on the road.

Building on the positive experiences of joint market preparation under the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP), the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) and the relevant industry players intend continuing to advance the development of hydrogen mobility in Germany. One of the core challenges of this over the coming years will be the establishment of refuelling infrastructure that can meet projected demands.

Multi-stage plan for the construction of up to 400 hydrogen refuelling stations by 2023
At present 20 hydrogen refuelling stations have been completed in Germany. They are funded as research and development projects by the federal government through the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP). The existing refuelling stations already ensure supply in the metropolitan regions of Berlin, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Stuttgart and Munich. The refuelling stations currently in operation can provide services to six million people.

In the next step, an initial construction phase will be carried out within the ongoing National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP). The focus is on 50 hydrogen refuelling stations in metropolitan regions and along the main corridors in the federal territory, making Germany the first country in the world to have a basic service using hydrogen refuelling stations. The building of an infrastructure of 50 refuelling stations still serves to test the technology, but also accompanies the market introduction of the first commercial fuel cell vehicles.

Regional refuelling station coverage by 2018/19
From 2017, H2Mobility – the company founded in March 2015 by Air Liquide, Daimler, Linde, OMV, Shell and Total – will become the central player in the construction of additional refuelling stations. The aim of the company is to achieve greater regional coverage by 2018/2019. This expansionary step is taking place independent of the number of vehicles on the market to support the market introduction phase of fuel cell vehicles.

350 million euro total investment by 2023 required
By 2023, up to 400 hydrogen refuelling stations are to be constructed nationwide, regardless of demand from the existing fleet of vehicles on the roads. Investments amounting to 350 million euros are needed for the construction of the refuelling stations. Concerning public sector participation, industry players are in promising consultation with the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. Above the 400 mark, further expansion of the hydrogen refuelling station network is profitable.

Studies show: Energy changeover can only be achieved with hydrogen technology
Analyses from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE such as the study: “What does the energy changeover cost?” show that the climate policy goals of the federal government of reducing at least 80% of greenhouse gas emissions are not only technologically possible, but also don’t have to generate additional costs when compared to the current status quo. The model-based studies extend to all sectors and energy sources and point to different, cost-optimised transformation paths on the basis of various scenarios. The sharply growing share of fluctuating, renewable energies makes an increasingly flexibly-reacting, complementary residual load equally as necessary as flexibility of electricity demand. This flexibility can only be achieved if new electricity applications are added, especially for transport. Models have demonstrated that in cost-optimised scenarios, regionally distributed electrolysers in the gigawatt performance standard will be already necessary over the next decades, in order to connect the energy industry and mobility. Ideally renewably-produced hydrogen will be used in the mobility area with fuel cell cars.

NOW and the China Automotive Technology and Research Center sign memorandum of understanding
Successful commercialisation demands international efforts. Upon the backdrop of political exchanges between the BMVI and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, NOW and the China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC) establish a partnership in the area of electromobility with batteries and fuel cells. Its goal is to promote the exchange on subjects that include the establishment of infrastructure, research and demonstration of batteries and fuel cells with a focus on the areas of measurement and evaluation technologies, as well as recycling and also comparative analyses on user behaviour in regard to electromobility in Germany and China.

Quotations on the occasion of the H2Mobility Congress – Fuel Cell Electromobility in Germany and throughout the World on 12 April 2016

Alexander Dobrindt, Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure:
„With electric mobility and automated, networked driving, we are standing at the threshold to the biggest mobility revolution since the invention of the automobile. The fuel cell is a key technology of this development. We have therefore initiated a hydrogen strategy – resting on three main pillars: we will invest more than ever before, we will establish a comprehensive recharging infrastructure together with industry and we will support and promote innovation with a targeted approach. In this way, Germany will assume a leading roll in shaping the powertrain changeover towards electric mobility.“

Dr. Klaus Bonhoff, Managing Director (Chair) of the National Organisation for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW):
„Investments of around 270 million euros by the BMVI to promote technologies for the market preparation of hydrogen mobility have paid off: in-vehicle fuel cell system costs could be reduced by 75 percent, the costs for hydrogen refuelling stations could be halved. Today represents a milestone in the implementation of hydrogen mobility and expresses the common desire of government and industry to successfully bring about an energy turnaround using electricity-based fuels from renewable energy in the field of transportation.“

Prof. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development:
„The market maturity of fuel cell drives and its potential are today without question. Industry, government and infrastructure partners have laid important foundations for the success of this technology, such as with the Clean Energy Partnership. We are currently resolutely preparing for the series production of our fuel cell-powered SUV based on the GLC. Besides many technological issues, the market success of electric vehicles with fuel cell drives is also directly related to the existence of a demand-oriented infrastructure. Especially with the specific measures of our H2 Mobility Joint Venture, we have great confidence in this regard.“

Dr. Johan van Zyl (Toyota Motor Europe President & CEO Europe and Africa):
“Toyota has set very clear goals and the road map to sustainable mobility. We are sure that hydrogen will play a growing role for the global society in the coming decades. For a carbon free mobility to become reality, all relevant stakeholders must cooperate: Automotive Manufacturers and Suppliers, Energy Providers, Local, Regional and National and European Authorities. Customers’ acceptance and convenience will define the speed of change, following the same pattern we have successfully experienced with our hybrid technology.”

Guillaume Larroque, Director Retail Network at TOTAL Deutschland:
„Today TOTAL operates 8 of 20 public hydrogen refuelling stations in Germany. A further five are planned for 2016. We are thereby affirming our leading role in the establishment of a network of hydrogen refuelling stations in Germany and in research towards the production of green hydrogen made using renewable sources.“

Oliver Bishop, General Manager Shell Hydrogen:
„All those involved must now work together: vehicle manufacturers to provide large numbers of hydrogen vehicles with acceptable price tags; energy suppliers such as Shell to provide the refuelling stations and logistics; the federal government to provide the impetus; and finally also the drivers who value the benefits of clean, easy and climate-friendly hydrogen mobility.“

Bernd Eulitz, Member of the Board of Linde AG:
„The subject of hydrogen is one that has been close to the heart of Linde for many years already. We have equipped more hydrogen refuelling stations around the world than any other provider and we will continue to push hydrogen mobility decisively forward in the future. But we are also doing more than that: with “power-to-gas” plants we are sustainably producing ‘green’ hydrogen and can thereby store surplus wind power. This can represent a significant contribution towards the energy turnaround.“

Dr. Christopher Hebling, Head of Hydrogen Technologies Division at Fraunhofer ISE:
„Achieving the aims of the energy turnaround and climate policy goals of the federal government requires grid supply hydrogen production as a fuel for fuel cell vehicles. In addition, the production of synthetic fuels (e.g. oxymethylenether, OMEs) and base chemicals from hydrogen and carbon dioxide and becoming increasingly significant (power-to-liquid). In model-based cross-sector studies at Fraunhofer ISE, we could prove that the cost-optimised transformation path leading to an 80% reduction in greenhouse gasses involved distributed electrolysers at a gigawatt performance standard. In this way, the increasingly sustainable energy sector can be successfully interlinked with emission-free mobility.“

Fuel cell vehicles
Vehicles with fuel cells emit no pollutants or CO2 as exhaust, only water vapour. The fuel cell is a very efficient type of drivetrain with system efficiency of up to 65 percent. In comparison: in the case of a combustion engine, depending on the hybrid concept, the system efficiency ranges between 25 and 35 percent. As such, the overall efficiency of a fuel cell vehicle from production of the fuel to the wheel (well-to-wheel) is already today higher than a conventional passenger vehicle despite the energy demands for producing hydrogen.
With the use of conventional hydrogen from natural gas, the CO2 savings are at more than 20 percent. With hydrogen made from renewable sources of energy, the entire chain is CO2-free.
A fuel cell vehicle can be completely refuelled within just a few minutes. Depending on the model, the vehicle range is up to 700km. In terms of both refuelling time and range, large differences exist to battery vehicles. Hydrogen technology is also suited for heavy-duty vehicles travelling long distances.