Over the 36 months from June 2009 until May 2012, the »Chemergy« project had the goal of providing public access to the chemical infrastructure in Hürth Knapsack, which until now had not been given. Aim was to make the hydrogen, which was produced as a byproduct from on-site industry — for example during the chlorine production process — available for use as an environmentally friendly fuel for transport, as well as raising acceptance of hydrogen among the public and decision-makers in business and public authorities.
Through field tests and integration of the projects »Chemergy« and »Phileas« — fuel cell hybrid buses of the Cologne public transport authority (RVK) — it was possible for project leader Boris Jermer and Carsten Krause of HyCologne GmbH to successfully reach the project aims in field trials. Together with the various partners including public utilities company Stadtwerke Hürth (SWH), InfraServ GmbH & Co. Knapsack KG (ISK), Air Products GmbH (AP), HyCologne GmbH (HyCo) and Praxair Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG Hürth (PA), the first public hydrogen filling station in North Rhine-Westphalia could be opened in May 2010, which has been in operation ever since. Besides providing a meaningful use for by-product hydrogen, important insights into the further development of hydrogen infrastructure in regard to the technical and economical framework could be attained. A significant aspect was the development of a sustainable business model including defined conditions for sales of the hydrogen to its consumers.
The »Chemergy« joint project was supported the Federal Ministry for Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS) within the government’s National Innovation Programme Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP). Objective of the programme is to promote market preparation of future-oriented products and services associated with fuel cell and hydrogen technology. In addition to technical realisation, the »Chemergy« project is also pursuing the goal of increasing user acceptance of fuel cell and hydrogen technology among the general public. Through its use in the public transport system, citizens have the opportunity to experience fuel cells in daily life and are therefore introduced to hydrogen as an environmentally friendly fuel of the future. As such, the contribution by »Chemergy« fulfils the NIP funding policy objectives and is well regarded.
Use of the hydrogen filing station by RVK fuel cell hybrid buses is guaranteed for at least an additional four years. In the year of operation, 4.5 tons of hydrogen was dispensed at the hydrogen filling station, which received 78 deliveries. Expansion of the RVK fuel cell hybrid bus fleet is planned. Companies in the region have indicated that they wish to procure fuel cell vehicles. The establishment of several companies in Hürth with a direct association with fuel cell applications (including Ballard Power Systems, Proton Motor Fuel Cell GmbH), ensures that the »Chemergy« filling station will also be persistently used in the future. The HyCologne — Wasserstoff Region Rheinland e.V. (Rhineland Hydrogen Association) initiative could also strengthen the network due to securing new members (including Propan Rheingas GmbH & Co. KG, Flughafen Köln/Bonn GmbH, Linde Group, Air Products GmbH, EMCEL GmbH).