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New JV pushes hydrogen infrastructure expansion in Germany; ~400 stations by 2023; $455M investment

Six industrial companies in Germany—Air Liquide, Daimler, Linde, OMV, Shell and Total—have formed a cross-sector joint venture, H2 Mobility Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG, to support a staged expansion of hydrogen filling stations across Germany to bring the total to around 400 stations by 2023.

The Berlin-based company has started operations and is working in preparation for Stage One of the joint action plan. This envisages the accelerated set-up of 100 filling stations over the next few years. Senior representatives of the H2 Mobility venture partners met today at launch talks held with Federal Minister of Transport Alexander Dobrindt and discussed the next steps. The industry and government partners have reinforced their commitment by signing a memorandum of understanding on hydrogen filling stations for Germany.

E-mobility must be emotional and shall arouse passion for the drive of the future. Electric vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells offer the best conditions: You have a long range and can refuel in some minutes. For the market ramp-up of this technology, we now need a comprehensive network of fueling stations for hydrogen. Therefore, I welcome the plans of H2 Mobility to build up 400 hydrogen fueling stations in Germany by 2023.

—Federal Minister of Transport Alexander Dobrindt

Click to enlarge.

The H2 Mobility action plan envisages a Germany-wide network of H2 stations by 2023, which would make Germany the first country to offer an inter-regional network where fuel cell vehicles (FCEVs) can fill up with hydrogen. Investments of around €400 million (US$455 million) in total are planned.

As the industrial key player in the expansion of H2 infrastructure in Germany, H2 Mobility and its Managing Director, Frank Sreball, are responsible for building and operating a Germany-wide H2 filling station network.

The joint venture also forms an integral part of the research project for the further development of hydrogen-powered mobility. H2 Mobility is a member of the recently formed “Hydrogen Mobility Europe” network.

The joint venture partners have many years of experience in the fields of electric mobility powered by fuel cells, refueling technology and infrastructure build-up. The industrial partners have recently made significant progress on standardization issues as well.

The first automotive manufacturers already have FCEVs in production for the German market. Others are to follow.

The declared aim of the German Federal Government is to make Germany the leading market for sustainable mobility solutions and efficient technology. Electric mobility with fuel cell-powered vehicles will help to cut CO2 emissions significantly, especially when using hydrogen from renewable energy sources, as FCEVs drive locally emission free. NOW GmbH, the National Organization for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology, is monitoring the achievement of this goal closely.

The NOW is responsible for the coordination of the programs under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure to promote battery and fuel cell-powered mobility.

Associated partners support the activities of the H2 Mobility. Via the H2 Mobility advisory, car manufacturers BMW, Volkswagen, Honda and Toyota, as well as the technology company Intelligent Energy are involved in the joint venture.

The H2 Mobility is also in close partnership with the Clean Energy Partnership (CEP), the largest hydrogen mobility project in Europe. Members of the CEP include Air Liquide, BMW, Daimler, EnBW, Ford, GM/Opel, Hamburger Hochbahn, Honda, Hyundai, Linde, Shell, Siemens, Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen SSB, Total, Toyota, OMV, Volkswagen and Westfalen Group.



A hand to Germany to take the lead towards a total distribution ans national clean H2 generation and storage network. Japan, South Korea, California (and many other States and Countries) will soon follow.

H2 networks can grow to meet requirement and/or to match future mobile and fixed FCs in operation for continuous energy and/or emergency e-energy generation.

Ideal for heavy long haul trucks, locomotives, heavy machinery, ships, boats, dugs, ferries, power generation etc.


BEV only advocates have long claimed that hydrogen is the preferred choice of the oil industry.

To the extent that that is the case, then the funds will clearly be available to build out the infrastructure, which they have long argued to be impossible of accomplishment.

They can't have both sides of the argument, although they sure have tried.

The oil industry is not all powerful however, and there are just too many sources of renewable hydrogen rapidly approaching economic viability especially in Europe and the Far East where natural gas prices are far higher than in the US for a hydrogen economy to be fossil fuels by another name.

So all the 'infallible' predictions of the BEV only folk are showing holes, from infrastructure build to the production of cars, which some of them said would 'never' reduce from the early prototype stage of around $200,000

As recently as last week, electric car insider was on about the $50,000 cost of the Mirai, either the stack or the car, I forget which, as though that were impossible of decrease.

Well, Toyota say that they can reduce costs by 80% by 2020.

Believe the prophets who have got everything about hydrogen so far wrong if you like, but their record of failure in prediction is conclusive:

1. They said the hydrogen infrastructure would never be built.

It is.

2. They said it would be impossibly expensive.

A 400 million Euro subsidy for the first 400 stations is impossible?

3. They said the cars would never be built.

They are.

4. They said the cars would always be impossibly expensive.

Costs are dropping way, way faster than for battery cars.

5. They said that hydrogen from renewables would always be impossibly expensive.

Ditto above, for costs of this, and umpteen new exciting technologies like hydrogen from solar are making astonishing progress.

With their track record you would think they would give up, but they will simply forget that they have been wrong on every count so far, and pontificate afresh.


There have been lots of comments proven false. If you have a PHEV with fuel cell range extender, you don't need to fill up very often, most trips are done on batteries.


Yes Davemart...BEVs only advocates may have to have a second thought (very soon) about mobiles and fixed FCs superiority unless 5 - 5 - 5 batteries become a reality by 2020 or so. Which is rather doubtful at the current development rate?

Even so, the family FCEV, with a fixed tank or trucked in or piped in H2 supply would make a very useful emergency e-supply for extended power failures. Could be ideal campers too.

It may be decades before batteries can catch up?


What's the cost of H2 right now?
What's the cost of liquid bio fuels like isobutanol/ gasoline drop-in supposed to be in ten years? $2.5-5gal?
What is the supposed weight of a future Tesla EV cell per kWh?
Battery cells are popular, nearly every modern computing device has some sort of li-ion battery, only stationary units like servers and desktops are hold outs and their market share is down to embarrassing levels compared to cell phones and tablets. If better batteries were there, they'd likely be in our pockets soon. Good batteries are in incredibly high demand, yet they never seem to come about even with subsidies and upswing of production.

I know batteries will get to a point when they are competitive, its just when will that happen? The problem is people need to lug around the battery that is right for their lifestyle in their vehicle 100% of the time with their BEV only solution... That's fine if you live close to work and family or are just blessed with perfect weather and no unforeseen events. So basically your left with a $40,000EV that performs close to a $16,000 ice, but its not even as convenient as that ice. You could buy 2 ices and have enough money to pay for fuel and still come out ahead.

If you start talking trucks... EVs will have a hard time towing and offering range/payload all at the same time like modern ices do. Its a very uphill battle when you start adding weight, and taking up space. What good is a vehicle if its not good at its designed function.

Hybrids like the volt can satisfy almost all Americans short range driving needs on EV mode. Hybrids getting into a truck market will happen, but getting 160kwh-1.2Mwhs into a vehicle to be comparable will be near impossible. (160kwhs is for light duty trucks, and 1.2Mwh would represent over the road)
FC is sort of the natural evolution to the gas hybrid, because you don't have to rely on an energy storage device that degrades steadily over time and use, will assuredly be useless for its designed function at some point in time, that is heavy, and bulky to achieve desired range.

Ideally you could have a much smaller battery and even have a very small fc stack, and get near unlimited mileage with only 5min stops. With a battery sized correctly, you could get by with a <100kw stack for almost any light duty vehicle. Long trips or time spent towing or hauling you could switch it to run in anticipation of needing it.

Many OEMs expect FCs to come down rapidly... Batteries on the other hand have to scale up to drop prices, they are at a point in their development where they are mature, trying to go that last mile. FCs are barely developed, there is lots of progress to be made.

If FCs were forecasted to be a very large waste of time by OEMs they'd never would push for mass marketing them. They likely have information on pricing, capability, and research that we don't. Its a billion dollar industry, and a mistake can cost a lot of money(see VW). If Toyota says they can see price reduction by 80% they can at least get to 70%, we could see FCs on par with hybrid ice costs...


The FAA has just come out with a ruling to airline passengers not to pack extra Lithium Ion batteries in their check in luggage. One airline has pulled every credit card reader using Lithium Ion batteries from all flights due to a fire in the cabin which required an emergency landing.

I avoid these potential bombs like the devil holy water.


Toyota claims that lower cost materials and mass production can reduce FCs price by 2020 or shortly thereafter.

The same could happen with mass produced H2 stations and clean H2 price, making FCEVs competitive with ICEVs and extended range BEVs.


Mannstien: don't bring explosion/fire concerns in here... everything about a car can be dangerous... I don't want to start a war between those still grief stricken by the Hindenburg and the garage fire guys. They are as safe as we choose to make them,
Speed is more of a concern: its not how fast you're going, but how fast you come to a stop.

The Lurking Jerk

HarveyD, if I’m not mistaken, this represents a bit of a conversion for you. I remember you used to be quite skeptical about hydrogen/FC. I too find it interesting that even though BEV’s have come to market and seem just barely affordable and acceptable, that automotive companies are still pursuing hydrogen so significantly. Do they see something in the future road maps of BEVs and Hyrdogen the rest of us don’t see?

Roger Pham

Dear Mr Reasonable,(aka TLJ)

Our most promising energy sources to avoid CO2 emission are Solar and Wind energies (S&W). However, these are non-dispatchable and intermittent, hence cannot be relied on, nor depended on to match our demand pattern.

If we are to depend on 100% Renewable Energy for the power grid, we will have to overbuild S&W massively in order to have enough S&W power even in low-wind and low-sun days. Then, in windy and sunny days, we will have too much S&W surplus that will fetch no money for S&W investors, and S&W investment will stall well short of 100% grid coverage with S&W, and we will forever be dependent on fossil fuel.

However, if there is a high-value Hydrogen market that will make grid-excess S&W profitable to S&W investors, then investment into S&W will continue even when the grid will be over 100% saturated with S&W. This is because the grid-excess S&W can be used to make H2 profitably as high-value transportation fuel that can be cost-competitive with petroleum, and bring back worthwhile profit for S&W investors.

Notice no carbon tax, nor any other special incentives to achieve the above economically-sustainable growth of Solar and Wind energies for the grid and for ground transportation, to eventually displacing nearly all fossil fuel.


The latest catalyst produces four times the hydrogen per unit volume making electrolysis smaller and less expensive. Let's say they do expand H2 stations and cars start to sell, to you think people will say maybe they were wrong? I doubt it, they will say it could not and should not be done, they were right all along or you just misunderstood them from the beginning.


It really is simple. The fate of batteries to be relegated to urban or regional runabouts is tied to this simple fact. They use too much material to store a given quantity of energy. Fluid fuels do not suffer such a situation, H2 included.


Panasonic will develop efficient lower cost solar panels to split water and produce, compress and store clean H2 for Homes and FCEVs by 2020 or so.

With enough H2 storage, these will handle extended rainy days and will not have to be connected to the grid unless you want to voluntary share energy.

Batteries will have to develop faster to compete.



FCEVs are interesting for our very cold snowy weather area. We're often delayed for hours in heavy snow falls and old weather. Current BEVs have major difficulties to deal with those conditions and keep passengers warm at the same time.

Consequently, the majority of the 8,000+ BEVs in our region are not used during cold snowy months. Most of the EVs in operation (in our region) are currently called mild weather days, short distance vehicles, definitely not full time family vehicles.

Up-to-date FCEVs could handle our harsh weather conditions better, if and when we have enough H2 stations. Our huge Hydro e-energy surpluses (specially during off peak periods) could be used to produce low cost very clean H2. With 500+ Km FCE range, a thin H2 station network along major highways would not cost that much.

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