VDI nachrichten, Berlin, 25. 2. 05 -Maintaining mobility and protecting the environment. This goal is always trying to achieve with hydrogen cars. However, a supply infrastructure is a prerequisite.
The discussions on the topic Hydrogen revolved around the International Hydrogen Day on 24 February in Berlin. The lectures by experts from the energy industry, science and politics ranged from regional aspects, such as transport in Germany, to a European hydrogen infrastructure, to global views and visions of experts from overseas. The Hydrogen Day was used by Wiesbaden-based industrial gas manufacturer Linde to present a study on the cost-effectiveness of a hydrogen infrastructure, which was developed together with David Hart, director of the Swiss energy consulting firm e4tech, and Imperial College London. The report shows that the logistics of a hydrogen infrastructure are not as complex and costly as most previous studies have shown.
Hydrogen-powered automobiles can significantly reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution in the United States Contribute to cities. Companies and institutes have invested billions in research and development to develop concepts and approaches for a hydrogen economy. The environmentally friendly gas, which produces no CO2 during combustion, differs significantly from liquid petrol fuels. Experts believe that the cost of building a hydrogen car infrastructure is significant and extremely expensive. Hydrogen is not a natural source of energy and must first be produced by chemical processes or by electrolysis. Critics are also skeptical about the efficiency losses that occur on the way from generation to transportation to gas use The study presented now, titled “The Economy of a European Hydrogen Infrastructure”, presents three different models for producing and distributing the gas for use in vehicles. An infrastructure would have to be built several years in advance to allow commercial use of hydrogen cars.
The report states that “medium term costs are manageable”. The total cost of a hydrogen infrastructure in Europe would therefore be around € 3.5 billion by 2020, assuming a total of 6.1 million hydrogen cars. An infrastructure to supply 1.9 million cars in Germany would be much cheaper at € 870 million.
“The study sheds new light on the true costs of a hydrogen infrastructure. Calculating various options for building a tank network for European vehicles shows that the most economical method is using today’s technology. We have to start planning before the breakthrough in the automotive industry is there, “says Wolfgang Reitzle, CEO of Linde.
The authors of the study suggest that the infrastructure will initially be built in the populous areas of Europe to provide a good one Market access to achieve. There should be a gradual build-up of hydrogen production and refueling stations, which would gradually cover all European conurbations with more than 1 million inhabitants. In addition, refueling stations on major highways should ensure that long-distance trips are possible. This will provide access to hydrogen for nearly one third of the total EU population or 120 million people.
The study also highlights the advantages and disadvantages of distributed hydrogen production, where gas is produced locally at gas stations. In this case, however, the investment costs increase as the number of hydrogen cars increases, according to the report. By contrast, central production benefits from economies of scale.
At the Hydrogen Day, Linde has proposed a wide motorway ring for testing purposes, which will run from Berlin via Munich, Stuttgart and Cologne back to Berlin and thus be around 1800 km long. At a distance of about 50 km each, a fuel dispenser for hydrogen would be installed. At a range of around 450 km, hydrogen vehicles could use these highways and the surrounding area for test drives. In metropolitan areas along the “Hydrogen Way”, the cars could also be tested in local traffic.
According to planners, some hydrogen filling stations, which are already close to the motorway, could be integrated into the project. In total, around 40 dispensers would have to be set up. At Linde, the investment is estimated at less than € 30 million.
The motorway route is chosen so that all development centers are close to it and most of the works of the German carmaker lie. There are also petrol stations and hydrogen production facilities. “In this way, manufacturers can test their drives in real use, thus making it possible to make the real costs of a hydrogen infrastructure transparent,” says Linde CEO Reitzle. The ring could also help to secure jobs and give Germany the lead in the world in the key discipline of hydrogen.
Hydrogen is already being tested as an energy source all over the world, Reitzle goes on to say. “With this motorway ring, the German automotive industry has the opportunity to gain experience with hydrogen-powered vehicles quickly and efficiently.” Mg