Wystrach name change

Wystrach name change

The lengthy process to rename the company Wystrach is slowly coming to an end. As the tank manufacturer announced in April 2024, the change from Wystrach GmbH to Hexagon Purus Weeze GmbH has now been completed. This brings the integration of the German company into the Norwegian Hexagon Purus family, a process which began in September 2021, to a provisional close. In the intervening three years, the company has, among other things, opened a new manufacturing hall with much higher capacities for the production of hydrogen tanks and storage systems.

Sufficient water in Brandenburg

Sufficient water in Brandenburg

Water resources in the German state of Brandenburg have long been the subject of much discussion, even before the construction of the Tesla factory in Grünheide near Berlin. Similarly, the resident hydrogen industry has a need for large quantities of water. However, a recent study has now given the all-clear, confirming that Brandenburg has enough water.

In the feasibility study for the hydrogen starter network, annual demand for water (of potable quality) was assumed to be around 8 million cubic meters for optimized electrolyzer plants and up to around 37 million cubic meters for plants with open cooling systems and evaporative cooling. The report concluded that the supposed water requirement for developing local hydrogen potential would therefore equate to around 1 to 6 percent of Brandenburg’s current water extraction level (compared with the year 2019).

The region’s economy minister Jörg Steinbach acknowledges that water is a linchpin for the hydrogen industry while recognizing at the same time that it is not always widely available. This is why he says it’s important to always check water availability at a particular site. “When resources are limited, then the drinking water supply for residents, for example, comes before hydrogen production,” the minister stated.

The study is intended to illustrate the need for a transformation of the water system as part of the energy transition, explained course manager Martin Zerta from Ludwig-Bölkow-Systemtechnik. “The structural shift toward renewable hydrogen also provides the opportunity to optimize water extraction and usage, both now and in the future.” This includes, e.g., the potential use of wastewater. According to Zerta, this is an area where Brandenburg could harness synergies that exist between oxygen, wastewater and waste heat.

The study entitled “Water consumption in the context of hydrogen production in the state of Brandenburg” was commissioned by the Brandenburg ministry for economy, work and energy and prepared by a consortium comprising Ludwig-Bölkow-Systemtechnik, DHI WASY and Water Science Policy.

Partnership is the new leadership

Partnership is the new leadership

Chancellor Olaf Scholz visits Hydrogen + Fuel Cells Europe

The atmosphere was good. Not ecstatic, as was sometimes the case last year, but certainly lively. Especially in Hall 13, where the Hydrogen + Fuel Cells Europe event took place, where the aisles well filled and the babble of voices was much louder than in the other halls on the exhibition grounds. Nevertheless, the impression remains that also in the 30th year of this H2 fair, the market breakthrough is still a long time coming and will happen “in only five years,” as has been said for 20 years.

Hannover Messe still lays claim to being the world’s most important industrial trade fair – according to Dr. Jochen Köckler, the board chairman of Deutsche Messe AG, it is even the “mother of all trade fairs.” As in previous years, it also benefited from April 22 to 26, 2024 immensely from the current H2 boom. The great interest in hydrogen and fuel cell technology once again led to acceptable exhibitor and visitor numbers. New impetus as an indication of the direction in which the traditional trade fair business could develop there were however none.

It could be said that the H2 fair has once again rescued Deutsche Messe’s balance sheet.

Chancellor Scholz visits H2 businesses
Not without reason did German chancellor Olaf Scholz give Hydrogen + Fuel Cells Europe a visit. The focus of his opening tour lay in the energy halls, where he stopped at Salzgitter (“We’re proceeding together on the trip” see Fig. 2) as well as by GP Joule. Ove Petersen, cofounder and one of the managing directors of GP Joule, stressed how important the improvement of political framework conditions are to actually be able to establish electrolyzer capacities (see also p. 18).

Chancellor O. Scholz with the Norwegian Minister-President J. G. Støre, Salzgitter head G. Groebler, Minister-President of Niedersachsen S. Weil, Norwegian economy minister C. Myrseth, German family minister L. Paus and German research minister B. Stark-Watzinger

Revealing word choice
Interesting to observe was how the word choice of some areas changed. For example, in numerous lectures were again and again talk of “Low-Carbon-Wasserstoff” (low-carbon hydrogen). With this crafted word, the speakers smoothly circumvent the classification of hydrogen into the, by some, really unpopular color scale. “Low-Carbon” implies that during the H2 production, little carbon dioxide is emitted, but avoids a stigmatization by the attribute “gray,” “blue” or “turquoise,” since even the smallest blending with green hydrogen is enough to be able to designate it as low-carbon.

Green or blue
For Olaf Lies, the state of Niedersachen’s economy minister, blue hydrogen is “a huge matter for achieving the climate targets.” In view of the tiresome discussion about color, he pointed out in Hannover that nobody asks about the color of electricity. “This must also be the case with hydrogen,” according to the minister.

Another innovation in the language style seems to concern the working principle in the hydrogen economy: Ever more frequently heard are sentences (in English), like “Partnership is the new leadership” or “Cooperation is key.” More and more players are realizing that the transformation process currently underway in the energy sector cannot be mastered alone, but only together.

What’s remained the same, in contrast, is the time horizon until the market ramp-up. Here we are still at five years. While in recent years it was still said that H2 trucks would be built in series starting 2025, representatives of the vehicle industry made it very clear that significant unit sales could not be expected in Germany until 2029 the earliest. Different is the situation in Asia: Refire advertised, for example, that it could already build 5,000 fuel cell systems per year.

After all, Dr. Matthias Jurytko, CEO of Cellcentric committed himself both to H2 technology and to Germany as a business location by saying: “Many talk about factories – We’re building one.” He also clarified: “Hydrogen will be the driver for long-haul transport.” At the same time, however, he conceded: “An increase in unit sales will not come until 2029/30.”

Dr. Jurytko: “There will be no long-haul transport without hydrogen.”

At around the same time, gray hydrogen could be just as expensive as green hydrogen due to rising CO2 prices, anticipates Gilles Le Van from Air Liquide.

Lively exchange in the forums
In addition, in the Public Forum of Hydrogen + Fuel Cells Europe (see Fig. 3 and 4), exhibitors once again explained their new developments this year or discussed them with guests from industry and politics. For example, what framework conditions or incentives for sector coupling and flexibilization of energy consumption are still lacking, or where and how green hydrogen will be produced in sufficiently large quantities worldwide.

Also the question of how much hydrogen Germany will produce itself and how much will be imported from its European neighbors moderator Ulrich Walter discussed with various guests. Christian Maaß, head of the department for energy policy at the federal economy ministry (BMWK), cited estimates that Germany could produce just under half of its climate-neutral hydrogen requirements itself, with the remainder having to be imported.

When asked by the moderator why the electrolysis capacities would not be immediately increased to 20 GW by 2030, replied Maaß, “With higher targets I would be careful, as electrolyzers need a lot of electricity.” He therefore advocates aligning the production of green H2 with the expansion of renewable energy. Not least to avoid conflicting objectives, because the direct consumption of green electricity should have priority. In this respect, he assumes that large quantities of green hydrogen will probably be imported from overseas, in the form of ammonia, methane and SAF (sustainable aviation fuel). Overall, however, Germany will need around ten percent of the world’s H2 production, making it a global player.

A completely different view is held by Heinrich Gärtner, founder and CTO of the GP Joule Group. He was convinced “that we can produce much more green hydrogen domestically than we today think,” and explained: “We already have a large potential for renewable energies, and this is continuing to grow. This also increases the amount of surplus electricity that can be used to produce hydrogen using electrolysis.” This is not only sensible, but also necessary. This relieves the strain on the grids and enables local value creation. In his view, Germany only needs a tiny proportion of its land area to produce all the renewable energy it needs itself. “We have everything here: the technology and the infrastructure.”

Numerous political representatives were on hand to answer questions

Cooperation in the European Area
Werner Diwald, chairman of the German hydrogen association (DWV), said, “The EU member states should be our main importing countries, not least to strengthen mutual relations and support stability within the European Union.” He also expressed optimism that the hydrogen economy could be ramped up quickly once a market and corresponding business models were in place. Something similar has already been seen with renewable energies. It should not be forgotten: The whole world needs green hydrogen. Germany therefore has a lot of competition, as other countries are also pursuing their own H2 strategies, according to Diwald.

The politicians present proved that the envisaged transformation process has long been underway with some impressive figures: For example, Olaf Lies spoke about 30 large gas-fired power plants in Niedersachsen that are to be made H2-ready. And his colleague Mona Neubaur, economy minister of Nordrhein-Westfalen (NRW), announced 200 hydrogen refueling stations by 2030. “We’re placing the infrastructure in the region with precision.” She asserted that NRW is to become the first CO2-neutral industrial region.

Hermes Startup Award: And the winner is …
As every year, the trade fair awards a prize to a particularly innovative company that is no more than five years old. For 2024, the Hermes Startup Award went to Archigas from Rüsselsheim, Germany. The company received the award for a moisture-resistant sensor for measuring hydrogen. The principle, which was developed together with the university Hochschule RheinMain, is based, according to the manufacturer, on an improved measurement of thermal conductivity on a microchip. The innovative technology is characterized by “miniaturization, robust design, short measuring times and a wide range of applications,” praised Prof. Holger Hanselka, president of the Fraunhofer research institutes and chair of the jury for the Hermes Startup Awards. Archigas is an “excellent example for innovation-driven businesses,” which have created the basis for the hydrogen economy to form.

Norway as a pioneer for green industrial transformation
The partner country Norway was represented with its own pavilion on the topics of energy, process industry, battery and charging solutions, and digitalization in Hall 12 and also on the orange carpet of the H2 trade fair – with the (English) slogan “Pioneering the Green Industrial Transition.” As an energy producer and pioneer in e-mobility, the Scandinavian country sees itself as a kind of catalyst for accelerating the green transition to a low-carbon society. For example, in the development of renewable energies and the use of digital solutions to trim the industry to net zero, as the H2 expert and former LBST employee Ulrich Bünger explained, who in “retirement” advises Norwegian Energy Partners (Norwep). The aim is to produce around four percent of Europe’s estimated ten million tonnes of hydrogen imports by 2030.

“Norway and Germany are important trading partners, and we have entered into a strategic industrial partnership for renewable energy and green industry,” said the Norwegian trade and industry minister Jan Christian Vestre in the opening of the fair. “We hope that the Norwegian presence at Hannover Messe will further strengthen this close cooperation between our two countries,” he said.

Honda showed its new FC system

The EEA (European Economic Area) Agreement means that Norway is fully integrated into the European single market, so trade and investment should flow seamlessly between Norway, Germany and the other countries of the European Union. During the trade fair, Germany also concluded an agreement with its Scandinavian partner on the storage of carbon dioxide (carbon capture and storage, CCS).

A major order was able to be announced by Norwegian manufacturer of hydrogen storage systems Hexagon Purus. Starting the second quarter of 2024, it will supply H2 tanks to the Berlin-based company Home Power Solutions (HPS), which claims to have developed the world’s first year-round electricity storage system for buildings. The Picea system will be primarily used in single-family homes in combination with PV modules. Surplus solar power, which is mainly generated in summer, will be converted into green hydrogen using an electrolyzer, which will be stored in high-pressure tanks from Hexagon. In winter, this is then used for reconversion to electricity. According to information from HPS, this allows buildings to be supplied with solar energy all year round. “Our high-pressure hydrogen tanks are flexible and scalable, making them suitable for a wide range of applications,” such as with HPS, said Matthias Kötter, managing director of the location in Weeze.

Creativity and inventiveness in Hall 13
A product innovation was presented for example by SFC Energy with the EFOY H2PowerPack X50, a pilot series for the most powerful fuel cell system to date with up to 200 kW in cluster operation. According to the FC specialist from Bavaria, this latest development offers the user a continuous electrical output power of 50 kW. However, up to four of these H2PowerPacks can be connected together to reach an output of 200 kW. The environmentally and climate-friendly alternative to diesel generators is equipped with standard 400 V AC connections, an integrated lithium battery and a 300‑bar hydrogen interface.

The operation is, according to information from the manufacturer, emissions-free; no CO2, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides or fine particles are emitted. Likely applications include the emergency power supply of hospitals or communication and IT systems, mobile power supply for construction sites and events or a continuous power supply for self-sufficient companies. “With the push into higher performance classes, SFC Energy is responding to correspondingly high market demand,” announced the company founded in 2000 and headquartered in Brunnthal near Munich. The series production and market introduction are planned for the beginning of 2025.

This year’s H2 Eco Award went to the energy park Bad Lauchstädt

Lhyfe expands
What the hydrogen ramp-up looks like from the perspective of the Lhyfe Group, which now operates in eleven European countries, was reported by Luc Graré, who heads the Central and Eastern Europe division: “We are right now scaling up our production.” He describes the philosophy of the hydrogen pioneer, which was founded in 2017, as follows: “We start small, learn, grow, learn again, grow further and then scale up.” After the company started with an electrolysis capacity of one megawatt in France, it is now 10 MW.

Currently, six production plants for green hydrogen are planned or in the construction phase: Three in France, three in Germany. “And it will be increasingly more,” he said. A 10‑MW plant is currently under construction in the Niedersachen port town of Brake (on the Unterweser). Up to 1,150 tonnes of green H2 are to be produced there annually, which will go to regional customers from the industrial and transport sectors. The company has secured the purchase of green electricity through long-term electricity contracts (PPAs) with operators of wind farms and photovoltaic systems.

Another 10‑MW plant has been under construction in Schwäbisch Gmünd in Baden-Württemberg since autumn 2023, and is scheduled to go into operation in the second half of this year – with a production of up to four tonnes of green hydrogen per day. Still under development is the plan to commission an 800‑MW plant in Lubmin, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern by 2029, which is to be built on the site of the decommissioned nuclear power plant. According to information from Lhyfe, the hydrogen produced there in the future could be fed into the emerging hydrogen network.

Formic acid as H2 storage
Even outside Hall 13 was a lot about hydrogen. At some stands it looked like a chemistry lab, with bubbling water in glass vessels or a cloudy nutrient liquid in transparent bioreactors. With one, Festo, in Hall 7 showed its latest achievement in H2 storage: the so-called BionicHydrogenBattery (see Fig. 7). It contains bacteria from Lake Kivu in Central Africa that convert hydrogen into formic acid in a natural process. In this chemically bound form, hydrogen is comparatively easy to store and transport. It is also more climate-friendly, as there is no need for energy-intensive compression or cooling to ‑253 °C to liquefy hydrogen. The conditions under which the microorganisms do their work are moderate: They need a temperature of 65 °C and a pressure of 1.5 bar.

The cultivation reactor of the BionicHydrogenBattery from Festo

Normally, the bacteria called Thermoanaerobacter kivui live in sludge in the absence of oxygen (anaerobe). They have an enzyme with which they can convert hydrogen and carbon dioxide into formic acid (CH2O2). They can also reverse the process. The basic research in this area was carried out by the team around Volker Müller, Professor at the Goethe-Universität Frankfurt and head of the department of molecular microbiology and bioenergetics, with which the bionic project team of Festo, according to its information, is working closely.

From an economic point of view, the exciting thing about this biological process is not only the speed of the reaction, but also the fact that the bacteria act as catalysts: “They are not used up,” stated the globally active company specialized in automation technology and founded in Esslingen 1925. “The process can be repeated at will with sufficient regeneration phases – just like a cycle,” they stated. As the reaction can take place in both directions, bacteria of this type are able to break down formic acid back into hydrogen and carbon dioxide at the target site. The CO2 can then be used in the beverage industry, for example.

Positive conclusion
At the closing press conference, Jochen Köckler came to, as expected, a positive tally: More than 130,000 visitors from over 150 countries met 4,000 exhibitors from 60 countries. Of these, 40 percent of the visitors came from abroad: most of them from China and the neighboring Netherlands, followed by the USA, Korea and Japan. Gunnhild Brumm from the Norwegian business development organization Innovation Norway was pleased about the good business and contract conclusions: “In short: It was really worth it! It was a real boost for us. We would love to come back.” Not as a partner country again, of course, because next year that will be Canada.

“We are laying the foundations for the H2 economy of the future…. The speed of artificial intelligence (AI) is too high in some places, but we absolutely need more speed for hydrogen.”

Dr. Jochen Köckler, chairman of Deutsche Messe

Authors: Monika Rößiger & Sven Geitmann

Enertrag builds near Magdeburg

Enertrag builds near Magdeburg

Despite challenging times, there are still reports of new H2 projects going ahead. For example, in mid-May 2024, building work began on a 10-megawatt electrolyzer in the Magdeburg region of Germany. It is here, in Osterweddingen, that energy company Enertrag intends to make green hydrogen using power generated from its own wind turbines.

Of the 900 metric tons that will be initially produced each year, a proportion will be fed into the Ontras hydrogen pipeline. A supply of hydrogen will also be funneled to the planned hydrogen mobility hub which will serve Keyou H2 trucks, among other vehicles. In addition, Ryze Power intends to use hydrogen to power its construction machinery.

Enertrag board member Tobias Bischof-Niemz said: “Hydrogen is an essential element in the energy transition and offers solutions for the decarbonization of various sectors, from heavy industry to long-distance transportation. By being connected directly to our nearby wind and solar farms, this electrolyzer will not only produce green hydrogen, but will also help attract other industries to the region and increase local value creation.”

The electrolyzer will be installed in the local industrial park which is located only around 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the proposed Intel chip factory. According to Enertrag, it will be used to support the energy system by offsetting fluctuations in the generation of electricity from wind and solar sources, thereby relieving the strain on the power grid.

Wissing signs Berlin declaration

Wissing signs Berlin declaration

E-fuels – irrespective of their disputed suitability for the car sector – will be essential for the decarbonization of the transport sector. Hence German transportation minister Volker Wissing is continuing with his campaign to ramp up e-fuels. On June 4, 2024, he underlined his approach by hosting the second International E-Fuels Dialogue in Berlin and used the event as a launchpad for his “Berlin declaration.” According to information from the German transportation ministry, it was an “agreement on technological openness, joint research and development and uniform standards.”

Fig.: The Berlin declaration is signed by German transportation minister Volker Wissing, the Lithuanian minister for transport and communication Marius Skuodis and the Japanese parliamentary vice minister for economy, trade and industry Taku Ishii (from right)


Source: BMDV

Wissing explained: “E-fuels are, alongside battery electric propulsion and hydrogen, an important option for future climate-smart transportation – in the air, on the water and on the road. […] We want to encourage research and development as well as the construction of production plants. For this, we’d like to attract private-sector investment as well. We will further accelerate the expansion in renewables.”

Marius Skuodis, minister for transport and communication in Lithuania, said: “Thanks to its considerable renewables potential, Lithuania is in a position to become a producer of hydrogen and associated synthetic fuels.” Taku Ishii, parliamentary vice minister for economy, trade and industry in Japan, added: “The concept of the ‘triple breakthrough’ – realizing decarbonization, economic growth and energy security simultaneously – has a key role to play in achieving a carbon-neutral society. In this context, e-fuels are capable of contributing significantly to the triple breakthrough.”

The next edition of the E-Fuels Dialogue will be held in Tangier, Morocco, in summer 2025.

ILA in Berlin

E-fuels were also a key topic at the ILA Berlin Air Show which took place in the German capital from June 5 through 9, 2024. It was here that the former petroleum association and now industry association for fuels and energy en2x indicated that there will be “an EU blending mandate for sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) from next year.” Chief executive Christian Küchen explained: “Quotas alone are, however, not enough to stimulate the investment that is now required in SAF production. The EU’s E-SAF quota will rise to 5 percent in 2035. It’s not clear at the moment if the plants needed for this will be ready in time.”

At the air show, the association handed over a list of demands including 10 suggested actions to the German government’s representative for German aerospace Anna Christmann and the parliamentary state secretary at the German transportation ministry Oliver Luksic.

Only a third of NIP projects approved

Only a third of NIP projects approved

Interview with Elena Hof, Paul Karzel and Jörg Starr from CEP

The Clean Energy Partnership or CEP is a consortium of various stakeholders that includes members from the automotive and energy sectors especially. On April 27, 2024, it issued a joint statement alongside the German hydrogen association DWV, making a powerful appeal to the German government.

Open letter from CEP

H2-international: Ms. Hof, Mr. Karzel, Mr. Starr, what in your view was the straw that broke the camel’s back? Why did your open letter come at this precise moment?

CEP: At the time we published our open letter to the federal government, there had been no official announcement of a halt on funding. However, major infrastructure projects were being repeatedly pushed back. When the government states that no more budgetary resources will be made available for hydrogen mobility and no new funding programs are planned, this signals a standstill. It’s a serious situation which is why we are seeking dialog with representatives of the government and its ministries. Our goal is to work together to find viable and sustainable solutions. Otherwise the consequence will be a migration of the hydrogen industry to other markets, in other words to other countries such as those in Asia, which will jeopardize Germany’s strong position as an economic and industrial base.

H2-international: You ask for “the immediate resumption of reliable funding for hydrogen mobility as needed to achieve climate targets and secure Germany’s position as a center of commerce and industry.” Officially, there is not and has not been an ax on funding, just a prolonged verification of the facts. Or have I misunderstood the situation?

CEP: Your understanding is correct. Even if funding hasn’t yet been officially axed, the signs are unmistakable. Postponed infrastructure projects and the statement that no further funding programs will be made available are a clear indication of the situation we are highlighting. In these circumstances, it’s no longer appealing for companies in Germany to invest. We need reassurance from the government that hydrogen will play a key role in the transition to cleaner energy and transportation and that this transformation will be borne jointly by both industry and the political establishment.

H2-international: So you doubt that the original funding mechanisms will ever be reinstated? Is there evidence that could back up this suspicion?

CEP: We focus on the facts. Looking at the current situation, we see a very real need for action. Reliable funding for hydrogen mobility needs to be quickly resumed. The current halt on funding is affecting industry at a sensitive time when much has already been achieved, but the transformation cannot be fully realized without political support. For us, that’s what counts. Investment needs to happen now, not least so that AFIR requirements can be met, for example.

H2-international: Recent communications from the government show clearly that battery electric mobility and charging infrastructure will be funded. The technology-neutral approach that was always promoted by the FDP party in particular is no longer evident. Is that your criticism?

CEP: Our criticism is that, by continuing along the current path, commercial and industrial opportunities for Germany will be squandered and the ability to meet climate targets will be lost. At the moment, Germany plays a pioneering role within Europe in the area of hydrogen mobility and sets global standards for other countries to follow. This leadership position is based on a strong technological and innovative capability that is founded upon one key premise: That hydrogen is a versatile energy carrier which is able to connect different sectors such as industry, heat, housing and mobility and alleviate the burden on electricity grids. Should one of these components not be in place, for instance mobility, it would put the further ramp-up of the hydrogen market at risk, thus endangering the renewables transition as a whole.

H2-international: Could you give us some examples?

CEP: Industry is planning to put over 40,000 hydrogen trucks on the road by 2030 and build up to 400 hydrogen refueling stations, which will massively reduce the CO2 emissions in the transport sector so as to meet the climate targets agreed in Paris. What is underestimated, here, are the numerous synergies with other sectors. If the automotive industry produces fuel cell systems and this then increases demand for electrolyzer systems, costs will fall due to scaling effects, meaning that other areas will benefit too. For industries that intend to use hydrogen as a feedstock, falling production costs are an essential requirement for success. This interconnection between sectors shows how important the integration of hydrogen technologies is for the entire energy transition.

H2-international: You say that the current pause on funding stifles the ramp-up of hydrogen mobility and jeopardizes investments which have already been made. Do you know of any projects that have already been canceled? Could you name some examples?

CEP: It’s difficult to determine since projects are only announced once they have been approved. However, what we can say is that of the 303 projects submitted as part of the national hydrogen and fuel cell innovation program NIP from 2016 to 2023, only 99 have been approved thus far. The funding calls for hydrogen refueling stations and electrolyzers, in particular, were highly oversubscribed, highlighting the enormous interest and the potential which has now been lost. In the coalition agreement, the government stressed the significance of the hydrogen economy. This ambition must now be translated into action, otherwise the danger is that investments already made will be devalued and climate targets will be missed.

H2-international: It’s also often heard said that battery-based e-mobility is already further advanced and shows more development potential. How do you respond to that?

CEP: Likewise here, we are focused on our own area. The Clean Energy Partnership represents hydrogen mobility. In our organization, companies work across various sectors to ramp up the market for hydrogen mobility. We work together on standards covering all modes of transport. The reason for this is that CEP members recognize the huge potential of hydrogen for mobility, for the transformation of transportation, for the energy transition. That’s what counts. Hydrogen is an essential part of successfully transforming transportation and energy systems. Hydrogen opens up fantastic opportunities for Germany as a center of commerce and industry and is a vital element in meeting climate targets.

H2-international: It’s also been said that it’s not the job of the state to sort out the building of infrastructure. Yet this is what it’s doing for charging points but not any more for H2 refueling stations. Are you after preferential treatment or do you just want to be treated equally?

CEP: We believe it’s unproductive to compare the treatment of different technologies. If you look at our membership list, you’ll see it actually includes companies that focus on both technologies. It’s a matter of recognizing and utilizing potential. We’re advocating for a resumption of reliable, targeted, sensible hydrogen funding. For constructive cooperation between politics, industry and science.

H2-international: We’re talking here about the mobility sector. Do you see parallels in other energy sectors?

CEP: We don’t just see parallels here, but a real symbiosis. The technology is ready, but at the same time there are key challenges to overcome in order to get to the next level. In the context of electrolysis, there’s still potential for optimization and that means more work to do in developing the system further. We also know that in the future large quantities of hydrogen will be needed in the steel industry, for example. That’s why we now need to bring down system costs, which is only possible through a mass market. And this is where mobility comes in – as a sector where this next important step can be taken. That’s the way to achieve a steady ramp-up and investment in large-scale production capacity.

H2-international: How do you see Germany’s position globally? Didn’t China push ahead as the lead H2 market long ago?

CEP: At the moment, Germany clearly holds a leading position. Germany could lose this status to markets such as China, or indeed the US or Japan. The result would be a migration of expertise and jobs which would not be in the interests of German industrial policy. We should learn from the mistakes that we made previously in solar policy. Here, Germany was also affected by migration abroad after initially playing a pioneering role.

H2-international: You call your open letter an “appeal.” Why the restraint, why are there no demands?

CEP: In our open letter to the government we laid out several key demands. However, what’s more important than these demands is that we initiate a productive dialog to now find solutions. Specifically, we’re asking for the national hydrogen strategy to be implemented, including all measures to support hydrogen mobility projects and the continuation of promised funding. As part of this, the swift approval of funding will help meet AFIR targets for the construction of hydrogen refueling infrastructure which is binding under European law. We also want initial funding for heavy-duty H2 vehicles, the introduction of a reliable OPEX funding program for heavy-duty goods transport and a ministerial structure between the federal government and states that supports the ramp-up of hydrogen mobility to the year 2030 and adjusts funding arrangements in line with actual market needs. Finally, regulatory hurdles must be removed and consistent funding provided for research for technological advancement.

H2-international: You have written expressly to Chancellor Scholz, economy minister Habeck, finance minister Lindner and transportation minister Wissing. Who do you think could or should be the most likely to act quickly?

CEP: We have written to key political figures – at the same time our demands are, of course, also directed toward the political establishment, the federal government. All the people we specifically addressed are crucial in terms of this issue; their areas of responsibility are highly significant. We are hoping for a broad show of support and are ready and willing to engage in discussions at any time.

Interviewer: Sven Geitmann