The development of a German network of hydrogen filling stations is gaining pace. The automotive manufacturer Daimler AG (ISIN DE0007100000) and the Linde technology group have announced in Stuttgart that they intended to open 20 new filling stations in Germany over the next three years. This will more than triple the number of public hydrogen filling stations in the country.
The new stations are to be set up in the regions of Stuttgart, Berlin and Hamburg, which are already supplied with hydrogen, and along the most contiguous possible North-South and East-West axis. For the first time, this would enable every location in Germany to be reached by a fuel-cell vehicle by the year 2015.
Existing locations will be used
The setup of the 20 new filling stations will begin in 2012, at existing convenient locations already operated by various oil companies. The joint initiative by Daimler and Linde, which involves an investment in the tens of millions, has also been opened up to other potential partners in the fuel, energy and automotive industry.
The infrastructure initiative of Daimler and Linde forms a bridge with already existing hydrogen projects such as the H2-Mobility or Clean Energy Partnership, which are being subsidized by the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP). Germany will therefore assume the leading position in terms of an international hydrogen infrastructure.
"The development of electrical mobility will be largely characterized by the hydrogen fuel-cell", explained Wolfgang Reitzle, Chairman of the Board of Linde AG. "We are delighted to be able to shape this development in cooperation with Daimler. We see ourselves as a forerunner in the field, and aim to promote the market maturity of hydrogen-powered vehicles." The aim now is to ensure the gradually increasing number of fuel-cell powered vehicles running on generatively produced hydrogen.
Demonstrating the market maturity of the fuel cell
"Circling the globe with our three green B-class vehicles has shown that the time is ripe for electric vehicles powered by fuel cells. We must now address the subject of the relevant infrastructure", said Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Daimler AG, and Director of Mercedes-Benz Cars, looking forward to the immediate future.
Zetsche continued, "Car-drivers can only benefit from the advantages of technology if there are enough hydrogen filling stations available: long rangers, short refuelling times and no local emissions." A focal point of the infrastructure development in Baden-Württemberg will be where such a re-intervention should start, 125 years after the original invention of the automobile.
The establishment of a comprehensive network of filling stations is an essential requirement for the successful introduction of hydrogen-powered vehicles, as planned by Daimler for the year 2015. Of the 30 hydrogen filling stations in Germany, only seven currently formed part of public filling station operations. In comparison: five to 10 filling stations would be required to supply a major city.
The connection of individual major conurbations now undertaken, such as Berlin and Hamburg, Stuttgart and Munich, with hydrogen filling stations along main traffic routes is the logical next step towards a comprehensive network of filling stations.