H2 Mobility initiative agrees on $474M plan for hydrogen refueling network in Germany; 400 stations by 2023
The six partners in the “H2 Mobility” initiative (earlier post)—Air Liquide, Daimler, Linde, OMV, Shell and Total—have signed an agreement in principle upon a specific action plan for the construction of a Germany-wide hydrogen refueling network for fuel cell powered electric vehicles.
Under the plan, the current network of 15 filling stations in Germany’s public hydrogen infrastructure will be expanded by 2023 to about 400 H2 filling stations. As a first step, the partners intend to deploy 100 hydrogen stations in Germany over the next 4 years. This would ensure a need-related supply for fuel cell powered electric vehicles to be introduced into the market in the next years, the partners said.
Hydrogen is the most common element in the Universe. However, filling stations for this environmentally friendly alternative fuel are still scarce. The H2 Mobility initiative wants to change this. By 2023 there should be more hydrogen filling stations in Germany, than there are conventional petrol stations along the Autobahns today. With this, we create step by step a comprehensive infrastructure for the everyday use of fuel cell technology.—Professor Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development
In addition to plans for a nationwide filling station network, the agreement includes the principles for the procurement and distribution of the necessary hydrogen and a request for support to the German Federal Government.
Following the foundation of a joint venture (subject to necessary regulatory approvals), gradual expansion of the national filling station network will commence next year. This means that an H2 supply suitable for everyday use will be created not only for densely populated areas and main traffic arteries, but also for rural areas. The objective is to offer an H2 station at least every 90 kilometers (56 miles) of motorway between densely populated areas.
According to this plan in metropolitan areas, drivers of fuel cell powered vehicles will have at least 10 hydrogen refueling stations available each from 2023. The H2 Mobility initiative expects that a total investment of around €350 million (US$474 million) will be required for this future-oriented infrastructure project.
The launch of fuel cell powered production vehicles on the German market has been announced by first manufacturers for 2015. In addition to attractive procurement and operating costs for the vehicles, a need-related number of H2 filling stations is one of the major preconditions for market success. Accordingly the planned H2 Mobility joint venture will work closely together with the automobile industry.
Particularly in view of high costs, advances in hydrogen and fuel cell technology continue to be important, the partners noted. Continuation of the innovation and research activities in this field which are envisaged in the mobility and fuel strategy of the German Federal Government plays a decisive role in this respect. In particular the continuation of the “National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology” (NIP) represents the necessary support for the market establishment, they said.
The Clean Energy Partnership (CEP) with its members (Air Liquide, BMW, Daimler, EnBW, Ford, GM/Opel, Hamburger Hochbahn, Honda, Hyundai, Linde, Shell, Siemens, Total, Toyota, Vattenfall Europe and Volkswagen) and others (Nissan and Intelligent Energy) welcomed the planned infrastructure development.