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Energiepark Mainz comes online; hydrogen from wind power; Siemens 6MW electrolysis system

After a year in construction, Energiepark Mainz, a collaboration between Stadtwerke Mainz, Linde, Siemens and the RheinMain University of Applied Sciences, was inaugurated in Mainz. (Earlier post.) The energy park will produce hydrogen using electricity from neighboring wind parks.

Around €17 million has been channelled into the project, which is also being funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy within the framework of its “Förderinitiative Energiespeicher” (Energy Storage Funding) initiative.

Fuel-cell drive technology has advanced greatly and is now being launched to the market. If this technology is adopted on a wide enough scale, it has the potential to significantly reduce traffic-related environmental pollution. Today, most of the hydrogen that Linde supplies to filling stations is already green. Energiepark Mainz has the capacity to produce enough hydrogen for around 2,000 fuel-cell cars.

—Dr. Wolfgang Büchele, Linde Group CEO

In the project, Linde is responsible for purifying, compressing, storing and distributing the hydrogen. The company’s efficient ionic compressor technology gives the plant a high degree of operational flexibility. The hydrogen produced in Mainz-Hechtsheim will be stored on site and partly loaded into tankers to supply hydrogen fueling stations. Some of the hydrogen will also be fed into the natural gas grid for heating or power generation.

Siemens delivered the park’s hydrogen electrolysis system. The PEM-based high-pressure electrolysis system—comprising three 2MW units—has a peak performance of 6MW—the largest system of this kind. The energy park therefore has enough capacity to prevent bottlenecks in the local distribution grid and to stabilize the power supply of smaller wind parks.

The energy park is directly connected to the medium-voltage grid of the Stadtwerke Mainz Netze GmbH utility company. It is also linked to four neighboring wind parks that belong to the Stadtwerke group.

The RheinMain University of Applied Sciences has been working in this area for many years and is providing scientific support to the research project, which is set to run for four years. The findings will be incorporated and evaluated in a PhD thesis.



I'll repeat my post from another thread:

'The research plant on the banks of the River Rhine, dubbed Energiepark Mainz and developed with Siemens AG, adds to two other significant fuel cell developments this year. Toyota Motor Corp., the car industry’s biggest manufacturer, is starting production of its hydrogen-fuelled car, the Mirai, and a group including Linde, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Daimler AG starts the roll-out of a standardized network of hydrogen-friendly refueling stations across Germany.

“The whole thing only works if we have three steps: the generation of the hydrogen, the refuelling, and the cars,” said Andreas Opfermann, Linde’s head of research and development. “We are in a better situation than battery cars where every country has its own plugs, its own level of voltage. We now have standard fueling stations.”


' If extracted from natural gas, it can cost about 8 euros per kilogram, and some 10 euros per kilogram, when made by electrolyzing water with wind power, a reflection of the current higher cost of wind energy.

At the efficiency of fuel cell cars, the ~60mpge of the Mirai for instance, that is a very doable cost in Europe, even for all renewable fuel.

The taxation is not equalised, of course, but it ain't bad for a start and costs will be going down.


> If extracted from natural gas, it can cost about 8 euros per kilogram, and some 10 euros per kilogram when made by electrolysing water.

If extracted from natural gas, there is no CO2 reduction, as no one is proposing carbon capture at the 8 euro figure. And there is still the environmental damage from extraction; release of methane, water table contamination. New York State just banned fracking because of environmental concerns over extraction.

10 euro is a bit over $11 currently. It will be interesting to see how $11 kg pre tax H2 becomes competitive with $0.12 per kW electricity. (H2 currently sells to volume purchasers for $13.59 per kg in Sacramento California, where the EV overnight price is $0.06 per kW).


The price of clean H2 could drop substantially with very cheap ($0.015 to $0.03/kWh off peak demand periods) surplus-excess Solar and Wind REs and future more efficient technologies.

In our region (95 Hydro + 5% Wind) the peak demand hours are for about 6 hrs/day for 30 very cold days/year = 180 hours/year or about 2% of the time. Clean excess, lower cost electricity could be available for about 98% of the time to produce clean H2.

On the other hand, clean H2 does not have to match the current subsidies price of polluting fossil and bio fuels. The real cost of non-subsidized + environmental damages fair price ($100+/tonne instead of current $0.0/tonne) for bio and fossil fuels would certainly be much higher than currently paid by USA's customers.



Electricity in the US currently comes 45% from coal, so by your reckoning BEVs should be abandoned.

Renewables need storing, which is what the German effort is all about, so your notion that you can just substitute cheaper electricity is a nonsense if it is not available when it is needed.

Audi plan PHEV FCEVs anyway, so what you have to say falls apart anyway, not to mention that you simply ignore that most cars in the world have nowhere convenient to plug in to, or any cost effective means of providing those plugs.

Like most 'one solution only' stuff, what you write does not bear the slightest critical examination.


don't forget the macroeconomic difference between buying something abroad and making something yourself.
(for those who still doubt there is a difference, ask Greece).

Even if hydrogen "made in Germany" is a little bit more expensive than hydrogen "made from Russian natural gas" there are many reasons to prefer the former.
(in addition to obvious ecological concerns)


DM> Electricity in the US currently comes 45% from coal, so by your reckoning BEVs should be abandoned.

Typical straw man from DaveMart. Actually what I advocate is cleaning up the grid through a carbon tax. As Harvey has suggested, fossil fuels have the advantage of a grossly distorted market; they don't have to account for their negative externalities - health and environmental consequences. That is starting to be addressed by regulatory limits, but a carbon tax would be a better, more efficient, more fair market corrective mechanism.

Far from advocating one solution only, I suggest that good regulatory policy will create incentives for industry to solve the problems posed by the need for increasing energy consumption and decreasing emissions. I have no doubt that these will be multiple and varied. And that a proper pricing mechanism will disqualify inefficient solutions.


What has to be abandoned are CPPs and ICEVs NOT BEVs and FCEVs.

There are many other clean alternatives to CPPs and ICEVs.

Most other transportation types (including small planes and drones) could also be electrified by 2030/2040 or so.

Resistance is futile.

We need the collective will to survive to do it!!


eci said:

'If extracted from natural gas, there is no CO2 reduction, as no one is proposing carbon capture at the 8 euro figure.

Which could equally well read:

'If electricity is obtained from coal, there is no CO2 reduction, as no one is proposing carbon capture'

so there is no straw man argument involved, only a refusal to compare like for like.

You also completely ignore that renewables are not available 24/7 all the year around in Germany, and so comparing the cost to electricity on the assumption that the electricity comes from renewables is a fantasy, not possible of implementation, which is why the Germans are doing this.

Also ignored is that PHEV configurations would use electricity for much of the time anyway.

So how about addressing the gaping holes in your argument, if you insist on trolling every thread on hydrogen and fuel cells, instead of confining yourself to mindless boosterism of Tesla on your own?

Bob Wallace

$11/kg. The Toyota Mirai holds 5 kg and has a 312 mile (EPA) range. That's $0.176 per mile. A 25 MPG ICEV burning $3/gallon fuel costs $0.12/mile. FCEVs won't gain market presence at those sorts of H2 prices (and that's a non-delivered, non-taxed price.)

"The price of clean H2 could drop substantially with very cheap ($0.015 to $0.03/kWh off peak demand periods) surplus-excess Solar and Wind REs and future more efficient technologies."

The availability of large quantities of very cheap off peak surplus-excess electricity is a fantasy. Adding EVs, storage and dispatchable loads to the grid will flatten out the price curve. And as coal and nuclear plants exit the grid there will be no one needing to sell at a loss due to the difficulty of shutting down and restarting.

"Electricity in the US currently comes 45% from coal, so by your reckoning BEVs should be abandoned."

There are only two sources for hydrogen. Reforming methane, which is a high CO2 output process. Or using grid power, like we would use to charge EVs. Big thing is, extracting and compressing H2 would take 2x to 3x more electricity per mile than would charging EVs. And that would mean coal plants staying online far longer while additional renewable generation was installed.

"most cars in the world have nowhere convenient to plug in to, or any cost effective means of providing those plugs."

That's also a failed argument. At this time over 50% of US drivers have a place to plug in where they park. Workplace and apartment parking lots are adding charge outlets (30,000 in Southern California right now). Other countries may not have as many outlets at the moment but adding an accessible outlet is small work.

"You also completely ignore that renewables are not available 24/7 all the year around in Germany"

That is true of Germany and true of everywhere. Building a reliable grid based around mainly wind and solar is simply an engineering task. It does not require magic. Widely connected grids minimize the need for storage and dispatchable generation. They also allow storage and dispatchable generation sharing.


DaveMart, do you believe the nastiness get you somewhere, or can you just not help yourself?

It really isn't that hard to understand that battery electric vehicles not only don't have tailpipe emissions they day they roll off the lot, they don't have tailpipe emissions at any point in their service life, unlike ICEs.

As the grid gets cleaned up, as California has shown can be done, those electrics have a decreasing well to wheel emissions. California has almost no coal in its electric energy mix, and what little is there is going away, and will go away for the entire US through emissions standards and pricing pressure from natural gas and renewables.

I'm not personally an opponent of Nuclear, although it appears that current technology does not compete well economically and is hugely unpopular. I hope that better technology becomes available, but whatever the outcome, it appears that electric propulsion and 200-300 mile batteries will be the most cost-effective transportation solution within the next few years, regardless of carbon footprint. BEVs are also capable of providing the best user experience with the lowest levels of noise, vibration and harshness. So it's very likely to be the market winner.

You're entitled to your viewpoint Davemart. But the scoreboard is not in your favor.


BW...the beauty of H2 generation is that you do NOT have to generate it 24/7. You can generate it during surplus low cost REs (Hydro (8% of the time in our region), Solar (6 tp 8 hours/day), Wind (variable but well known) hours and STORE it for future multiple uses.

H2 transport can be reduced by installing many smaller H2 generation facilities and distribution centers.

H2 powered locomotives could share many nearby cars/trucks H2 stations.

The same could be said for H2 powered ships, cargo handling equipment etc.

Clean H2 made with surplus-excess REs is a worthwhile (not necessarily cheaper) alternative to dirty electricity from CPPs, NGPPs, bio and fossil fuels etc.


CORRECTION: 8% should read 98%



You should check out your actual behaviour, instead of the glossed over version you like to think is what you do.

You habitually evade giving anything like a straight answer, but simply change the subject.

So that in this instance, when I asked you a couple of simple, straigtforward questions, ie that in the terms you have chosen BEVs come off as badly as fuel cell cars, and why you ignored PHEV FCEV's you switched the subject to me 'being nasty to you'

Instead of whining, you could try simply answering simple questions.

That is a bit difficult though, as what you are on about doesn't actually make any sense at all.

That is the way it goes when you have an ill considered hobby horse instead of a logical position.

So, if you were prepared to answer not evade questions, then you would be treated better.

Sly and evasive behaviour makes me grumpy.


Bob said:

'$11/kg. The Toyota Mirai holds 5 kg and has a 312 mile (EPA) range. That's $0.176 per mile. A 25 MPG ICEV burning $3/gallon fuel costs $0.12/mile. FCEVs won't gain market presence at those sorts of H2 prices (and that's a non-delivered, non-taxed price.)'

You are comparing European prices with those in the US, when all the factors are very different.
Natural gas is cheaper in the US as well as petrol.
Wind is much better as resource then in Germany, but not enough to close the gap.

Electrolysis from surplus renewables is much nearer to being economic than in the States.

Gasoline costs in Germany around $6.28 US gallon:

which is over double the $3 you used.

No one is saying that hydrogen from renewables is fully economic yet, not even in Europe, but the figures aren't bad for early days, and that kind of gap is bridgeable by mandates, subsidies etc, as has been done many times to encourage technologies.


If the market was supporting your thesis, Davemart, I might be more sympathetic to your views. But given the current annual BEV and PHEV sales, and the number and capability of recent BEV and PHEV announced production vehicles, it seems highly improbably that the technical and financial challenges of H2 as a light duty vehicle fuel are going to be competitive any time before 2030, and probably not then given the head start that batteries have. 15 more years and we'll have 4x the current density. Who is going to want to pay the Hydrogen efficiency penalty then?

As I said, you're entitled to your opinion, even if you are wholly intolerant of others. But the tantrums are really not doing you any favors mate.


At the end of the day, the consumer will decide which of these two technologies wins out for renewable transport. I guess that will be based primarily on fuel cost per mile and capital cost.

Pleased to see progress being made in large scale storage of excess renewable electricity (power to gas), though, which is the final component of the energiewende. In my view it should be methanated for storage in the natural gas network, then it's backwards compatible with all the existing infrastructure.


They are not building nuclear in the west in volume, or I would be right on board with EP as if they were they can produce power when needed, and so it is much more energetically efficient not to transform the power to and fro to hydrogen or anything else but to use it in a BEV or an electric highway.

That applies to renewables too.
If you have the power when it is needed, you use that.

What critics attempt to elide is that it is not, certainly in Germany in the winter, so they are comparing something which there is no way at all of doing, running cars on renewably produced electricity, with something which can, albeit at considerable difficulty and cost, which is to use renewables when they are available to produce hydrogen to use as and when.

If the difficulty is real about the higher cost, and to a certain extent it is, then overall costs can be held down by PHEV configurations.

Using renewables via electrolysis should not be imagined as the only pathway though, as for instance new enzymes to reduce biomass can make a considerable contribution, and their cost in the US is making great progress towards the DOE target of $4kg.

So critics are comparing fuel cells and hydrogen to supposed alternatives which there is no way at all of doing.


Looking in a bit more detail at costs, hydrogen from renewables in Germany runs at around 18 cents/mile.

That is not too far from the average costs of running a car, but perhaps it is fairer to compare it to the Prius, which at 50mpg (US) comes in at around 12 cents a mile.

That is quite a gap, especially considering no tax is taken into account for the hydrogen.

This is the first early stage costs though, and if we are looking at where costs may come down, aside from the fact that electrolysis is far from the only way, or the cheapest, of producing hydrogen from renewables,the answer is in every single aspect of the production, transport and processing.

The ~30% gap ex tax could also be wiped out by a rise in oil prices to that which obtained previously.

PHEV FCEV configurations are also an obvious way to go to reduce fuel costs, so that when electricity is available from renewables it gets used straight, although there too the cost of taxation which needs to be raised one way or another should be equalised for a true cost comparison.

1,000 Kangoo ZE delivery vehicles with a Symbio fuel cell RE are to be out into service in 2016, and it is plain that in this application in an 8 hour day then a 5-10kw RE can provide 40-80kwh of extra energy, as they can run all the time unlike an ICE RE, with zero carbon monoxide or other emissions to worry about.

In my view an i3 with a fuel cell RE would be immensely worthwhile.

So the balance between using hydrogen and electricity is greatly variable, according to need and costs.

Also without mediation into hydrogen it is simply impossible, certainly in Germany, to have a very high proportion of the grid from renewables.

To take the case of wind:

To be the most cost effective the power from wind, which varies by a factor of 100 or so, should only be built out until on the very windiest days it exactly matches the grid need ( everything simplified, of course, to outline the fundamentals )

In practise the build will exceed that, but if you are simply chucking the excess away then you can't go too far for cost reasons.

However if you can do something with the excess, for instance even rather expensively turning the excess into hydrogen or synthetic natural gas, then you can up the capacity, say for illustration from having an excess on 10% of days to having an excess on 30% of days.

So quite aside from the wind turned into hydrogen, it has enabled far more of the grid to be supplied by wind than would otherwise be the case.

Germany's plans for using loads of renewables in the grid, and everyone else's, certainly outside of the tropics, are utterly dependent on surpluses being mediated to hydrogen and other fuels.

Lots of renewables without it just don't work, which is why they are doing it.

I'd prefer nuclear which essentially only needs minimal if any support from hydrogen, but they are not doing that, at any rate outside of China.

So if you want lots of renewables, that means hydrogen and synthetic fuels



Your habitual policy of evasion does not do you any favours.
That is what gets up my nose, not differences of opinion.

Once again, you avoid giving a straight answer to simple questions.

So again, on what grounds do you simply ignore FCEV PHEVs?

And why do you persist in giving costs for BEVs per mile in Europe as though they could somehow avoid paying their share of tax forever?

You are not a straight shooter, for all your pretensions to be the really nice guy being asked awful questions merely on the grounds that what you say makes no sense at all.

They call that being smarmy, not nice, where I come from.


You have some interesting filters Davemart, and even more curious preconceptions about the roles and responsibilities of people who post on public forums. What makes you believe that anyone here as any responsibility to address your hypothesis that FC PHEVs are a viable transportation option?

I understand that you see the concept as a rational, even necessary development. And given your belief that hydrogen fuel cell stacks and H2 delivery infrastructure can be developed for a competitive cost, it's understandable how you draw that conclusion.

But consider for a moment the paradox that although there are gasoline PHEVs widely available for sale, and FCVs available for sale, there are no H2 FCV PHEVs for sale.

It could be that there is a gap in the market waiting to be filled. Or it could be that this is an evolutionary niche that does not support investment by well informed, well financed interests who would otherwise be well motivated to pursue that configuration.

It turns out there's a good reason for that, but if the thousands of pages you've read here and elsewhere on the technology haven't provided an answer for you, I don't think I'll be able to do any better.



You accuse me of being nasty.

It is perfectly clear that you bull your way through, evading any serious discussion, whilst posing as the rational one, and having a grossly inflated self image.

Look up 'troll' eci, that is what you are.

You would not recognise an honest argument if you tripped over it, and you have the cheek to claim integrity for your site.

You don't know what integrity consists of, plainly.

If you fancy yourself a pleasant person, as you claim, you are very deeply mistaken.



BTW, amongst every other uncomfortable question you have shirked, you have evaded answering whether you or your staff have any financial interest in Tesla, a junk bond rated company your blog ceaselessly promotes, whilst knocking any competition.

Respectable, responsible publications declare any interest, as do those who publish articles.

Not you, and not yours, which tells the rest of us a great deal.


I've already stated several times on GCC that I have no financial interest in Tesla or any other automaker, Davemart, including again within the last few days here. I won't keep repeating myself so this will be the last time I respond to that canard. I will link to the numerous times you've made the accusation and my answers so that new readers can quickly figure out what you're all about.

Name calling and casting aspersions are not going to win you any adherents among the intelligent people who read this blog. It does make it obvious who has run out of any arguments on the merit of the topic at hand.

I'm not here to answer your questions Davemart. I'm here to comment on the discussions at hand. You can go ahead and continue to whinge on about me, but it just makes you look increasingly desperate and obsessive.


I only skimmed this discussion but I don't see the causus belli that DaveMart does.

It's true that the rationale for hydrogen assumes that there is a requirement for long-term storage of electric generation surpluses.  Overnight battery storage of electricity will be quite affordable; it costs about 6¢/kWh using $100/kWh batteries cycled 260 times per year (7% interest, 10 year amortization).  It's only when you get into weeks and months that you need an extremely large and cheap external energy stockpile.

I think the shift to nuclear will take many people by surprise.  Consider NuScale; their 47.5 MW(e) unit weighs about 700 tons, most of it steel.  A manufacturing plant to build a couple units per day would not even be particularly large.  The core is roughly the same size and thermal power rating of the light-water breeder core at Shippingport.  What this means is that a unit about the size of a NuScale could run for quite a few years (much longer than the 2 years specified by NuScale), using mostly thorium (obviating any uranium shortage) and simply be brought to a site by rail or even a road transporter.  You dig the holes and pour the concrete and set down the steam turbines, and a year or so after breaking ground you drop the first integral unit into place, plumb it in and go into business.

A manufacturing plant producing 2 NuScale units (or equivalent) per day would turn out 475 MW(e) of reactors per week; running 50 weeks per year, that's just under 24 GW(e) per year.  That would suffice to replace the USA's coal-fired generation in less than 10 years.  Another plant would suffice to de-carbonize Europe's electricity in roughly the same amount of time.  The BRICs would not be left out either.

Do that, and neither petroleum nor hydrogen has a rationale any longer.



There is no significant cost advantage anticipated for small module nuclear reactors over large scale ones.

"In mid-2013 NuScale ... demonstration and deployment of a multi-module NuScale Small Modular Reactor (SMR) plant... ...comprise a 540-600 MWe power plant (12 modules), costing $5000/kW on overnight basis..."


Actually the cost is expected to be 20% more than a pair of large nuclear power plants (page 4)


So you're looking at 16.2 cents per kilowatt-hour for a 540 MWe NuScale installation on the first try.

You must be expecting some huge savings from a learning curve - but that cannot happen. Half of what goes into a nuclear power plant is in any other thermal plant, and further a containment structure is required. That's 65% of the cost right there. These costs cannot be "learned" away, or they already would have with 10x the number of coal plants built vs nuclear power plants, and thousands of large concrete structures built.

So you're expecting to optimize that to what, 75% of the capital cost of a pair of large nuclear power plants in the *best* case scenario, saving 2.6 cents per kilowatt-hour (down to 10.4 cents per kilowatt-hour)?

It is still exceptionally uneconomic for SMR nuclear, no matter what the learning curve ends up being, because you can only do a learning curve on 35% of the capital cost.

As to using a 10 year amortization on batteries, they last much longer than that.

A Tesla Model S is expected to be at 94% after 50,000 miles, dropping 1% per 30,000 miles after (that's a 85kWh pack using only 75 kWh of the total).


So after 2600 cycles on a Tesla S it would have 73% of its energy capacity left. And of course, grid scale batteries are likely to be built to favor cycle life over weight, beating that. Further you're missing that batteries can be cycled more than once per day on a weekday (excess soalar pv for the early evening peak and excess wind at night for pre-solar noon peak) for a quicker payback.

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