Hamburg expands clean vehicle fleet, including fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen stations

The northern German city of Hamburg has started a major project with Daimler, Shell, Total and Vattenfall Europe that aims to increase the use of emission-free vehicles, including ones powered by fuel cells, and to create a corresponding infrastructure of hydrogen fueling stations.

The Hamburg project is part of the Clean Energy Partnership in Hamburg and Berlin. It is being supported by the federal German government as part of the National Innovation Program for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology. In addition, a laboratory and testing facility is being founded in Hamburg to further research on fuel cell technology.

The city’s transport authority, Hamburger Hochbahn, has been operating fuel cell buses since 2003. This fleet is to be expanded, with a total of 10 latest-generation fuel cell buses plus 20 Mercedes-Benz B-Class fuel cell cars in operation in the city from next year. Daimler sees the potential for the use of 500–1000 fuel cell powered vehicles in Hamburg by around 2015.

The necessary infrastructure to support these emission-free vehicles will be constructed in parallel. As part of the cooperative venture, Shell and Total are to add hydrogen pumps with 700 bar (10 000 psi) technology to four public fueling stations in Hamburg. Vattenfall Europe, which currently supplies the hydrogen, is planning to further expand its capacities in Hamburg over the next few years.

With the support of the city of Hamburg, Airbus, EADS and DLR will establish a laboratory to carry out applied testing and optimization of fuel cell systems. A trust with a professorial chair is also to be created, with support from Daimler. At present the Fuel Cell Lab is integrated into the plans of the Centre for Applied Aviation Research (ZAL).

The initial aim is to test the use of fuel cells in aircraft and to accelerate the technical maturity of these systems. Other applications will be added later, for example, road traffic.

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