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Total hydrogen station in Munich first to feature standard compressed H2 and BMW cryo-compressed H2 technology

Total has opened a hydrogen filling station on Munich’s Detmoldstraße. The station, which completes the European HyFIVE project’s South Cluster—comprising Stuttgart, Munich, Innsbruck and Bolsano—is the first public filling station at which the two pumps dispense hydrogen using two different types of refueling technology: industry-standard 700 bar CGH2 hydrogen storage technology (SAE J2601); and cryo-compressed hydrogen storage technology (CCH2).

Cryo-compressed hydrogen storage, being developed by the BMW Group based on its long experience with cryogenic storage, involves storing gaseous hydrogen at low temperature on board the vehicle at a pressure of up to 350 bar. It is currently at the advanced development stage and will only come on stream for general use over the longer time frame. CCH2 tanks offer up to 50% more hydrogen storage capacity than 700 bar tanks and can support a driving range of more than 500 kilometers (310 miles).

From a 2010 paper by BMW and Lawrence Livermore researchers describing CCH2 technology. Commercial automotive hydrogen storage technologies occupy the extremes of this phase diagram. Hydrogen is often stored as a compressed gas (red dot) at ambient temperature (horizontal axis), very high pressure (dotted lines), and relatively low density (vertical axis). Hydrogen is much more compact as a cryogenic liquid (blue dot) but with higher energetic cost (solid lines indicate the theoretical minimum work, also known as thermomechanical exergy) to compress and/or liquefy hydrogen.

Cryogenic-capable pressure vessels have flexibility to operate across a broad region (shaded in green) of the phase diagram, and therefore can be fueled with gaseous H2 at a low energetic cost when energy or fuel cost savings is important or, respectively, with LH2 or cryogenic hydrogen at elevated supercritical pressures when long driving range is desired.

Aceves et al. Click to enlarge.

BMW recently showcased two hydrogen fuel cell demonstrator models—BMW i8 and BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo. Half of the fuel cell 5 Series GT has 70MPa (700 bar) CGH2 storage and the other half has CryoCompressed at 35MPa (350 bar). The i8 Fuel Cell Vehicle only has 70MPa CGH2 Storage. (Earlier post.)

The DOE Hydrogen Program conducted a technical assessment of cryo-compressed hydrogen storage for vehicular applications during 2006-2008. The term “cryo-compressed” was coined by Salvador Aceves and colleagues at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and refers to their concept of storing hydrogen at cryogenic temperatures but within a pressure capable vessel, in contrast to liquid (or cryogenic) vessels which store hydrogen at low pressures.
Cryo­-compressed hydrogen storage can include liquid hydrogen or cold compressed hydrogen. LLNL designed and fabricated a cryogenic-capable insulated pressure vessel (up to 350 bar) for on-board hydrogen storage applications.
BMW worked with LLNL in the development of a prrof-of-concept and in the review of the technology.

In order to research and develop both types of tank system and their integration in the vehicle, BMW Group needs to have both systems available for testing in the real world and not just in the laboratory. Much more realistic test scenarios can be achieved if lab tests are supplemented by testing at a public filling station, the company said.

BMW says that since fuel cell electric vehicles are particularly suited to longer-distance trips, they are an ideal complement to the BMW i models, and to the future plug-in hybrid production models from the BMW brand, which will be based on the already proven eDrive technology. In the long run, the company said, hydrogen fuel cell drive will become an integral part of BMW’s Efficient Dynamics program, adding to the diversity of the BMW Group’s powertrain portfolio. This portfolio can be flexibly tailored to different vehicle concepts, customer requirements and legal and regulatory requirements in the international automobile markets.

However, a basic requirement for the successful introduction of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is the development of a hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in the relevant automobile markets. In important initial markets for hydrogen, such as Japan, California/USA and Europe (particularly Germany, the United Kingdom and Scandinavia), it is realistic to assume that the current infrastructure initiatives will lead to the establishment of an initial hydrogen refueling infrastructure by around 2020. Unlike Japan, which as an island has little or no need to make allowances for cross-border traffic, Europe faces much more challenging requirements in terms of ensuring a transnational infrastructure.

The BMW Group is therefore actively contributing its expertise as a partner in important initiatives for the development and planning of a hydrogen infrastructure, such as the H2 Mobility and CEP initiatives in Germany, and also as an active member in the EU’s Fuel Cell Hydrogen Joint Undertaking. The BMW Group is also collaborating intensively with Total Germany and the Linde Group on refueling processes and technology.

Over the long term, moves are afoot to use power-to-gas electrolysis to store surplus renewable electricity in the form of hydrogen. Production of hydrogen from surplus electricity would offer a realistic long-term prospect of ensuring a cost-efficient supply of green hydrogen for use in fuel cell electric vehicles.


  • G. Petitpas, P. Benard, L. E. Klebanoff, J. Xiao, S. M. Aceves (2014) “A Comparative Analysis of the Cryo-compression and Cryo-adsorption Hydrogen Storage Methods” LLNL-JRNL-650042

  • Salvador M. Aceves, Francisco Espinosa-Loza, Elias Ledesma-Orozco, Timothy O. Ross, Andrew H. Weisberg, Tobias C. Brunner, Oliver Kircher (2010) “High-density automotive hydrogen storage with cryogenic capable pressure vessels,” International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Volume 35, Issue 3, Pages 1219-1226 doi: 10.1016/j.ijhydene.2009.11.069



The oil companies, auto companies and politicians are all spending billions and working hard to force a hydrogen system on the consumer. We know it's designed to continue Big Oil's dominance of the energy markets; but, most people are ignorant of these facts and so they buy into the lies and hype.


REs + H2 + FCEVs may not have that much to do with Oilcos but may be a way to do without them.



You're VERY wrong on this one. The oil companies are hugely invested in H2. Check out who owns the largest natural gas holdings in the US some time and you'll see that Exxon and company have been investing heavily there for over a decade.

H2 comes from natural gas and anyone who thinks it comes from RE now, or anytime in the near future, is kidding themselves and living in a fantasy world. It's MUCH cheaper to steam reform NG than to get it from renewables and money wins these battles.

So NO, this is not a way to do without the oil companies. This is a way to guarantee they dominate our lives for another 50 years...if we fall for it.


We have huge REs (Hydro + Wind) surpluses to make clean H2 with during about 95% of the time.


That is completely irrelevant. It may make us feel better to know that we're using RE as wisely as possible, but the percentage of the total H2 that would be used in the next 10-20 years is so small as to be negligible.

We're getting over 98% our H2 from NG today. RenewableEnergyWorld (the tree hugger types who PROMOTE RE for a living/passion) are predicting that the US will only be 34% RE, including hydro, by 2025. Think about that for a minute. Even being optimistic, we will only be getting half that amount as "excess"( and that's wildly optimistic because hydro is used as base load and makes up the bulk of that and excess us usually sold to neighboring states that need the cheap/clean electricity for their grid).

But lets pretend it could be 50% used to make H2 and pretend it was 100% efficient in the conversion. That would still only give us 17% of our H2 from RE. The reality is that it's likely to be under 10%.

We have to put aside "feel good" scenarios and look at realistic scenarios and crunch the numbers. There is nothing REMOTELY green about H2 production for 10-20 years and we'll be extending the profits of the oil/gas companies AND their hold on our lives by using H2.

This is the reason I rail against H2 for any use, but especially vehicles. Now if we suddenly decided we all liked Nukes and we wanted to build 1,000 nuke plants in the next 10 years....then you have a different discussion. But that is NOT happening in the US where we've not opened a single nuke plant in 30 years.

So let's keep our discussions logical and not based on hopes and fantasies of "what could be".


Good Posts;
Good discussion...hope others learn from it.


Thanks, Lad. Yes, I know Harvey is a good guy and always optimistic so I don't mean to be harsh.. But I really do think we need to be realistic about this.

I look forward to hearing Davemart respond :) Or Roger Pham if he's listening today. Roger is certainly passionate...but I think he's incredibly idealistic. LOL


Sorry Harvey, but Dave & Lad are right on this one.

Roger Pham

A significant advantage of FCEV over other vehicles is the ability to use 100% RE. This will draw eco-conscious people to use FCEV's, and they will demand 100%-RE H2. This should be no problem because of rapidly declining cost of solar and wind energy, and will give major incentive for the energy companies to divest in fossil fuel and invest in RE.

H2-FCEV's permit healthy profit margin for grid-EXCESS RE, (unlike the Power-to-Gas scheme) and will enable sustainable and rapid growth of RE penetration into the grid, as well as good profitability for the oil and gas companies, enabling them to eventually move away from fossil fuel and toward 100%-RE for the electricity grid, and using grid-excess-RE for producing H2.

Notice that solar and wind power is already cost-competitive with coal and gas electricity, but NOT when e-storage is required, which will make solar and wind with storage way too costly, thus significantly limit growth of RE.

Likewise, Power to Gas scheme, in which H2 from EXCESS RE is injected into the NG net work, represents a major loss of revenue, when NG in Europe now sells for ~5 cents/kWh, while H2 from RE is currently profitable at 15-20 cents/kWh.
H2 at 15-20 cents per kWh when sold with profit (when made from grid-EXCESS RE) will be competitive with petroleum on per-mile basis, even with today's low-cost gasoline and diesel.

So, only with profitable use of grid EXCESS RE to make FC-grade H2 (for the FCEV's consumption) can RE's growth continue to 100% grid penetration...and beyond, to well past 100% as more and more FCEV's will flood the market.
Never doubt the combined massive power of the oil and gas industry, the mainstream automobile industry, as well as the industrial-gas industry, to bring about a complete transition from a petroleum-fueled ICEV society and a fossil-fueled electricity grid now, to a future 100%-RE H2-FCEV society, and 100%-RE powered electricity grid, in about 30-50 years.

All that must start TODAY, because we have the ticking time bomb of Global Warming awaiting us, and we now have the technologies and the economic sustainability to do so, to go completely away from fossil fuels in 30-50 years.



'Check out who owns the largest natural gas holdings in the US some time and you'll see that Exxon and company have been investing heavily there for over a decade.'

If you were asked who is far and away the biggest consumer of NG and had answered the electricity industry you would have been spot on.

And renewables will displace coal, not NG.
Their internittency makes massive continued burn of NG vital to run them at all.

You don't plot against your largest customer.


Maybe the NG points are true for the US, but in Germany, it's a completely different story.

1. Almost all NG is imported from abroad (Mainly Russia).
2. In Germany, there will be increasingly more RE excess power anyway, so either we make H2, or we shut down the wind mills.
3. Customers have a choice and do choose for the greener option. Now already they do prefer renewable electricity (even if it would be more expensive) over fossils. a large majority of Germans favours the "energiewende". As an analogy : organic food is more expensive than conventional, but many people do buy it. Child labour is cheaper, but we are willing to pay more for ethical clothing.
4. Macro-economically, even on first-sight more expensive RE-H2 is actually much cheaper than imported NG-H2. The higher price of renewable-H2 is mainly because of the infrastructure (windmills, electrolysers) that are all "made in Germany", so most of this money goes immediately in the economy (even before the H2 is charged) and a big part of it even goes to the governement (through taxes) because all these people working in the RE industry a begeing paid their salaries and pay taxes and/or spend their money in the German economy. NG bought abroad means billions of euros leaving the economy. So, if you do a simple micro-economic assessment of the marked-price of RE-H2 vs NG-H2, the NG-H2 might be cheaper, but for a nation as a whole, this is certainly not as evident.

4. in Oil and Gas, there are a few "big players" that can make huge profits (and consolidate their monopoly position and political influence) because there is scarcity. H2 is completely different. There is no scarcity of water or windmills or solar cells. The companies producing windmills, solar cells, electrolysers and H2 machinery are competing with each-other and are not in the (fossil or H2) energy business themselves. So anyone can buy those machines and compete on the market. Soon, every civilian can buy their own electrolyser and produce their own H2 if they like. every gas station can buy their own "big" electrolyser and make their H2 themselves if they like.
H2 is not an alternative for batteries. H2 is a range-extender, and therefore an alternative for NG, gasoline or diesel.

I agree initially renewables will replace coal (not NG) (and pitifully nuclear in Germany), but because of the intermittency, they are being built in excess to be able to provide as much as possible RE, even at high-load and low-wind. Consequently, there will ever more be moments of huge excess RE. In addition, H2 is being developped as storage of RE to be reconverted in electricity at moments of low wind/sun. This is fantastic of course, since the same infrasturcture to stabilize the power grid can be used to produce H2 (not only for cars, but also for fertilisers and the chemical industry.


@ Harvey
I'm making a list of all those points that enhance the fact that FCs are nothing more than a scam.
- FCs will never operate without a battery. It takes at least 5 min.(+) for a FC to reach operating temperature; the drive train is supplied from the battery in buffer mode and has to be large enough to bridge that inherent idle time.
- FCs are far more complex than a battery and horribly expensive to boot (batteries are expensive enough).
- H2 is the smallest molecule in pure form and is almost impossible to store without losses. It'll diffuse through ceramics, glass, stainless steel, etc. etc.; the greater the pressure the higher the losses.
- When using a sound mix of renewables to produce H2 (without environmental emissions), the overall efficiency of the FC is as poor as that of a gas hog.
- Using the electric energy to charge a battery is approx. 4x more efficient than a FC.
As I have mentioned several times in other posts, the only validity for a FC is home heating. The waste heat of the FC can be used for heating whilst generating power for home use or grid injection. The thus achieved efficiency can just be justified.


Thank you Alain.

Bob Wallace

The myth of free/almost free/surplus/whatever electricity.

At a high rate the US is converting coal to natural gas. We now are generating more of our electricity from NG than with coal. NG is highly dispatchable. Before NG sells for less than its operating costs plus a reasonable profit it will simply turn off.

We have "surplus" electricity for a few hours a few nights a year because thermal plants are hard to turn on and off. As thermal capacity drops so will the amount of cheap electricity.

And at the same time we're seeing storage growing, more EVs coming to market as well as utilities implementing TOU billing which encourages businesses and retail customers to move load to cheaper rate hours.

If your H2/synfuel solution won't work at industrial electricity prices then it isn't viable.



Again, the point of the largest customers is completely irrelevant. Of course the oil/gas industry loves utilities. They use NG to produce electricity. But that is completely unrelated to this discussion.

For vehicle use, the oil and gas industry benefits by trying to compel us to use H2 by any means necessary for transportation. In the US, that H2 will come from NG for the next couple of decades. As Bob Wallace points out, at least in North America, counting on the fallacy of "surplus" RE is not remotely realistic.



You are spot on regarding Germany. That same study over on Renewable Energy World that said the US would only be 34% RE said that Germany would be well over 90%.

And with Wind and Solar, yes...they will have to build a lot of over capacity and go into some type of storage to do load leveling. Or they might possibly have grid connectivity to buy/sell across the EU and into Asia to help level loads. But even then, storage will play a big part in that and H2 is a viable alternative for storage of excess capacity.

Germany, and the rest of the EU is NOT the US. We have our own problems and we will never build out nukes and we will be much slower to get to RE. And wishing that problem away (Roger Pham, I'm talking to you :) will not make it change.


USA will eventually wean itself from Coal-Oil-NG and bio-fuels to reduce GHGs and multiple pollution sources.

(It may also wean itself from tobacco and junk food, adversely affecting the well being of the majority)

Germany, Japan, S-Korea, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and even China & India may do it 10 to 20 years before.

The logical clean energy replacements (in USA) are Solar (50+%), Wind (25+%) and Nuke (25+%).

Solar is so abundant (in USA, China, India etc) and is getting so cheap that it should gain relative speed in the next 10 to 20 years.

This is a way to guarantee they dominate our lives for another 50 years...if we fall for it.

This is why my car is "fueling" from an electric outlet right now.

I agree initially renewables will replace coal (not NG) (and pitifully nuclear in Germany)

Coal (even lignite) is replacing NG in Germany.  A lot more could have been replaced by keeping the nuclear plants going, but Germany has embarked on its third insane mass-movement in a century and shows no sign that it will let reality intrude until it is absolutely forced to.

We [the USA] have our own problems and we will never build out nukes and we will be much slower to get to RE.

I wouldn't be so sure.  NuScale alone is a game-changer (then you have Transatomic, LEADIR, etc).  NuScale units could be cranked out like Liberty ships, and even at a fraction of the daily tonnage of the WWII shipyards could mostly de-carbonize the US grid in 1-2 decades.  If they were installed inside cities they could de-carbonize space heat and DHW as well.

The USA has two basic modes:  complacency and panic.  In panic mode, the USA built over 2750 Liberty ships in 4 years and went from the first controlled atomic chain reaction to the surrender of Japan in less than 3.  I predict that the dam WILL break on nuclear power, and when it does it will change the world.

Roger Pham

>>>>>"And wishing that problem away (Roger Pham, I'm talking to you :) will not make it change."

Let's recall "Murphy's Law: If something can happen, it will."
1) Many H2 stations under construction will sell only 100% RE-H2.
2) With FCEV's, you can start to drive with 100% RE right need for wishful thinking.
3) FCEV owners are eco-conscious people who will demand 100% RE-H2. The market of 100%-RE H2 will expand parallel with the market growth of FCEV's.
4) Solar and wind is already cost-competitive with fossil fuel electricity, but WITHOUT storage. So, the growth of solar and wind will grow as it is now, UNTIL storage will be needed...then it will stop.
5) But, with a market for high-value, ultra-pure, FC-grade H2 that is competitive in cost and profitability with petroleum, then, solar and wind will continue to grow further, because EXCESS RE will be profitably used to make FC-grade H2.
6) With continual grow of solar, wind, PEV's and FCEV's, the oil and gas industry will have no choice but to divest from oil and gas and invest in solar, wind, and order to avoid oil and gas glut driving down oil and gas prices below profitability. The oil and gas industry will continue to make profit from the dwindling oil and gas market, PLUS profit out of the sale of grid RE and H2 from grid-Excess RE.
7) Solar and wind will continue to penetrate the grid to well past long as the FC-grade H2 market will continue to support this continual expansion.

Do you see the picture now, DaveD? It is not wishful thinking. It is a logical progression of what is happening now and what will be economic and environmental sustainability.


Roger, you've just given us 7 steps:
1) Flap your arms
2) Flap your arms faster
3) We REALLY mean it this time so flap faster
4) We're flapping them fast now
5) I'm SURE this is going to work
6) We know that if we flap them faster then we could fly
7) Are we flying yet?


You really don't see that every step you list is a drop in the bucket? Sure, but 2030 or so, we'll have a HUGE amount of Solar and Wind. It may even get above 50% of our energy mix by 2040 or 2050. But even the most optimistic scenarios don't get us above 30% by 2025.

You're just wishing for paradise.
"1) Many H2 stations under construction will sell only 100% RE-H2."
There are 14 stations in the US today. Seriously, think about the REALITY of that for a minute.

"2) With FCEV's, you can start to drive with 100% RE right need for wishful thinking."
Congratulations! The manufacturers COMBINED hope to sell maybe 1,000 units next year. That's 1,000 out of a billion vehicles on the planet.

"3) FCEV owners are eco-conscious people who will demand 100% RE-H2. The market of 100%-RE H2 will expand parallel with the market growth of FCEV's."
FOLLOW THE MONEY. NG sourced H2 is over 98% of the US market for a reason: It is cheaper! That doesn't change because you wish it away. That changes with LOTS of time as Solar and Wind become cheaper than NG AND they get deployed in HUGE numbers. In other words...10-20 years away.

You're glasses aren't rose tinted...they're purple unicorn tinted!!!


I ABSOLUTELY agree with you!!! We could CLEARLY do it. But we have ZERO political will. Hell, we can't even agree what day it is in this country right now.

We built those 2,750 Liberty ships in 4 years and we conceived the entire program and delivered the atomic bomb in 3 years....because the Japanese bombed us and put us in that panic mode you speak of.

I fear the event that would put us in panic mode...but I also fear it will have to happen for us to change.


Yes, the cheapest food in USA is junk food and the result is 60% to 66% overweight and rising fast. Sizes 2XX to 4XXX are becoming the major sellers.

Is that the perfect example that USA wants to expose to the whole world?

Fuel cells will soon be smaller, lighter, much cheaper to mass produce and more efficient.

REs (mostly solar and wind) will soon be much cheaper to produce e-energy in massive quantities and easy to store via H2 for future FCEVs and to produce clean electricity (together with Nuke and other REs) to meet basic and peak demands.

Posters should start investing in REs, FCs and batteries instead of fossil and bio fuels.


This "panic mode" could also work against nuclear power, if something should go wrong...

Roger Pham

>>>>>"NG sourced H2 is over 98% of the US market for a reason: It is cheaper!"

Cheap H2 from NG is of low purity, not suitable for use in FC that requires 99.997%-pure H2. By the time that you'll purify that "cheap H2" to that purity standard, H2 from NG will lose much of its cost-competitiveness, if not all of it!

Meanwhile, solar and wind power is getting cheaper and cheaper...electrolyzers are getting cheaper and cheaper...go figure! Electrolytic H2 is ultra-pure because the water that goes into it contains no carbon and no other impurities.

So, 98% of cheap H2 will continue to come from NG for industrial purposes of making fertilizer and petroleum refining.
Ultra-pure, FC-grade H2 will cost-competitively come from cheaper and cheaper solar and wind energy. See the picture now?


Yes, Roger, we see the picture.  The consumer cannot tell what is "renewable" H2 and what isn't even if they can verify that it is made via electrolysis (it could come from coal-fired electricity and they wouldn't know).  Given the massive incentives for fraud, we can be certain that it will exist all over the "Green" hydrogen industry.  The actual benefits will be to crooks, not the environment.

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