Germany to Launch Nationwide Hydrogen Fuel Network by 2015


Germany has launched an exciting new plan to establish a national hydrogen fuel network, which could be fully operational as early as 2015.

On behalf of the German government, the transport minister Wolfgang Tiefensee has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with eight industrial partners to set up the H2 mobility scheme. High profile participants include Daimler, EnBW, Linde, OMV, Shell, Total, Vattenfall and the NOW GmbH National Organisation Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology.

Speaking about the groundbreaking plan, the first of its kind anywhere in the world, Tiefensee said, “Our aim is to continue consistent and systematic promotion of electromobility based on batteries and fuel cells. Today we can see that Germany is setting the pace when it comes to hydrogen and fuel cell technology. We are aiming at establishing the nationwide supply with hydrogen in Germany at around 2015 in order to support the serial-production of fuel cell vehicles.”

The plan will take the form of two phases:

Phase 1 (2009-2011) will involve the assessment of various options for a nationwide hydrogen network and measures to increase public support. New hydrogen fuelling stations will also be installed to expand the existing small hydrogen network in urban areas such as Berlin and Hamburg.

Phase 2 will involve further development of the hydrogen fuel network and the introduction and commercialisation of electric vehicles fitted with fuel cells. The industrial partners hope to have several hundred thousand such cars on the road by 2015.

According to Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, “The widespread adoption of fuel cells will only occur when drivers can readily refuel with hydrogen. To accomplish that end, we’re working together with oil companies, energy providers and public policymakers to help drive the development of the necessary infrastructure.”

Image Credit – Robert Couse-Baker on Flickr

Andrew Williams

is a writer and freelance journalist specialising in sustainability and green issues. He lives in Cardiff, Wales.