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Grand Coalition to expand network of hydrogen fueling stations in Germany

Automaker Daimler and industrial gases giant The Linde Group are teaming with oil & gas companies Total, OMV, Avia and Hoyer to significantly increase the number of hydrogen fueling stations in Germany. The initiative will implement 13 new refueling locations by the end of 2015, and secure sustainable sourcing of ‘green’ hydrogen.

Daimler and Linde are each investing around €10 million (US$12.7 million) in 10 fueling stations. On 29 September, the first of the Daimler- and Linde-initiated public fueling stations for fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) was officially opened at a Total multi-energy fueling station (i.e. also with conventional fuels) on Jafféstrasse in Berlin-Charlottenburg.

Major boost to hydrogen fueling network

The following locations have been earmarked for additional stations by the end of 2015:

  • Total: Geiselwind in Bavaria (A3 motorway), Fellbach in the Stuttgart region, Ulm, Karlsruhe, Neuruppin in Brandenburg (A24 motorway), Cologne-Bonn Airport, and central Berlin (upgrade of existing station at Holzmarktstrasse).
  • OMV: Greater Munich area, Greater Nuremberg, and Greater Stuttgart.
  • Avia International: Stuttgart-East.
  • Hoyer: Leipzig (A14 motorway).

Negotiations on the details and construction of the remaining seven refueling locations with additional partners are at an advanced stage. The National Organisation Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW GmbH) is supporting the project as part of the National Innovation Programme Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP).

Coordinated rollout of fueling and vehicles

‘We are pleased to be driving this expansion of Germany’s hydrogen fueling network,’ says Dr Andreas Opfermann, Head of Clean Energy & Innovation Management at Linde. ‘We are making a valuable contribution to the successful commercialisation of fuel cell vehicles, while supporting initiatives like the Clean Energy Partnership (CEP) and H2 Mobility.’

‘There is no question that fuel cell technology is reaching maturity,’ adds Professor Herbert Kohler, Vice President Group Research & Sustainability and Chief Environmental Officer at Daimler. ‘From 2017, we are planning to bring competitively priced fuel cell vehicles to market.’

‘So now is the time to build a nationwide fueling infrastructure,’ continues Kohler. ‘The aim is to enable motorists to reach any destination in Germany in their hydrogen-fueled vehicles. This initiative is a huge step forward on the journey to a truly nationwide hydrogen network.’

Green hydrogen

Linde already secures half of the hydrogen for existing CEP fueling stations from ‘green’ sources, and it will power the 20 new stations with fully renewable hydrogen.

The green hydrogen is obtained from crude glycerol – a by-product of biodiesel production – at a dedicated pilot plant at the Linde gases centre in Leuna. The certified green hydrogen obtained in this way produces far fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional methods.

Linde also has other sustainable sources at its disposal, like bio natural gas and water electrolysis using wind-generated electricity, for example as part of the H2BER project.

Rolling out fuel cell electric vehicles

Daimler plans to bring mass-produced, competitively priced FCEVs to market starting in 2017. To accelerate technology optimisation and minimise investment costs, the company formed an alliance with Ford and Nissan in early 2013 for the joint development of a drive concept. Experts reckon that by 2018, well over 10 000 FCEVs will be running on European roads.

Rolling out hydrogen fueling

By the end of 2015, the number of hydrogen fueling stations supporting this growing fleet in Germany is set to reach 50, with the support of the Federal Ministry for Transport along with partner companies and organisations.

Furthermore, the H2 Mobility initiative – which Daimler, Linde, Total, and OMV are also part of – agreed last year on a detailed plan of action to expand the network to around 400 stations by 2023.

In July this year, Linde opened the world’s first small-scale production facility for hydrogen fueling stations in Vienna, Austria.

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