No-cost land for hydrogen station

Uncomplicated hydrogen refueling, © Shell

Late last November, the total number of hydrogen filling stations in Germany stood at 35, prompting a statement from NOW that the expansion of the refueling grid was making significant progress. Rhineland-Palatinate’s first public hydrogen station, which had received around EUR 900,000 from the federal transportation ministry, had just been inaugurated in Koblenz, Nov. 21, 2017. Operated by Air Liquide, the easily accessible installation is located at a truck stop called Bolz­Platz, close to the A61 freeway. Carina Bolz, the truck stop’s general manager, said that offering the plot at no cost had been the right thing to do. The company had always been strongly committed to helping eco-friendly alternatives gain a foothold in the market.

When the Koblenz station was inaugurated, another EUR 400,000 project had already been in operation in Munich. This one features a new generation of Linde’s cryopump and ionic compressor and is equipped with a 400-kilogram tank to store liquid hydrogen. And as part of the NIP 2 rollout program, EUR 900,000 was invested in a system near the freeway entrance at Bremen’s Sebaldsbrück suburb (see October 2017 issue of H2-international).

October 2017 also saw stations in Bad Rappenau and at the Cologne Bonn Airport coming online, with the latter having received about EUR 800,000 in government funds. The total grew to a bit over 40 at the end of 2017, although not all systems were operational. Meanwhile, Air Liquide has opened a refueling site in Dubai, the first of its kind in the United Arab Emirates.

When Ludwig-Bölkow-Systemtechnik recently analyzed the global market, it found that the number of hydrogen stations will increase by a factor of 20 over the next years if all of Europe’s current installation targets are met. The worst-case scenario would still see the number rise by a factor of 9. The bad news is that in global comparison, Europe is expected to lose considerable ground to other markets, especially Asia.

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