Last week’s story about a hydrogen fuel cell powered bicycle from Linde Group generated lots of discussion, so this story should interest lots of our readers. Even though European car makers are focusing on electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, that doesn’t mean that research into fuel cell cars is not moving forward as well. In particular, BMW is exploring hydrogen power for its future cars and Mercedes is doing so as well.
Now 6 European companies have announced a consortium that will build 400 hydrogen refueling stations across Germany by 2023. The group consists of Air Liquide, Linde, Daimler, OMV, Shell and Total. The cross-sector joint venture will be known as H2 MOBILITY Deutschland. according to Electric Car Reports. It is based in Berlin and is already working hard on Stage One of the plan — the construction of 100 filling stations over the next few years.
Executives from H2 MOBILITY met with Germany’s minister of transportation, Alexander Dobrindt, last week to discuss the plan, which would make Germany the first country to offer a complete hydrogen refueling network. A total investment of around $500 million is anticipated. H2 MOBILITY is an international leader and has the potential to influence other countries to expand their hydrogen infrastructure. It is a member of the recently formed “Hydrogen Mobility Europe” network.
Germany wants to be a world leader in sustainable mobility solutions and efficient technology. It believes electric mobility via fuel cell powered vehicles will help to cut CO2 emissions significantly. H2 Mobility is working closely with car manufacturers BMW, Volkswagen, Honda and Toyota, as well as the technology company Intelligent Energy.
Hydrogen as a fuel source is controversial. Unless new technologies become available, it takes more energy to make commercial grade hydrogen than the hydrogen produced will be able to give back when used as a fuel source. Proponents argue that abundant solar energy will solve that problem, because there will soon be an excess of virtually free electric power from renewable sources. Skeptics argue that the world’s energy needs are a long way from being met by solar power and that it is more efficient to use what there is to recharge battery electric cars rather than to make hydrogen.
The chances are we won’t know who is right until at least a decade from now.