International Fuelcellbus Collaborative

Featured Topic: H2 Infrastructure Partnerships

Germany’s Clean Energy Partnership (CEP) is a leader in the roll out of hydrogen infrastructure, recently celebrating the opening of Hamburg's state of the art Vattenfall/Linde/Hydrogenics station that supports four new Daimler fuel cell hybrid buses (soon to be seven).  An associate partner of the CEP, NRW, also recently commemorated a new station in Cologne that fuels the city’s two new articulated fuel cell buses.  This station connects 900 km of the European hydrogen highway from Munich to Amsterdam via Stuttgart and Frankfurt.

CEP, NRW and similar cross-competitive groups such as the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP), Japan's HySUT, the Canadian H2 Highway, and the Scandinavian H2 Highway Partnership, include broad membership bases of both hydrogen suppliers and vehicle manufacturers.  By working together, risk is distributed across the groups and the market stakes for both are strengthened. 

The CEP, a lighthouse project of Germany’s  National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen  and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP) employs a two-pronged approach to push and pull the adoption of hydrogen forward.  In order to address the proverbial chicken or the egg conundrum, the CEP’s membership includes multiple infrastructure and vehicle providers structured around a memorandum of understanding to create “Roadmap H2 Mobility”.

In June 2012, CEP announced a joint Letter of Intent to open 50 new hydrogen stations in Germany by 2015.  The German Ministry of Transport will lead a coalition of the three largest industrial hydrogen suppliers, Air Liquide, Linde and Air Products, coupled with Daimler and oil and gas company Total.  NOW will coordinate the effort.

Similar to the CEP’s interdisciplinary approach is the partnership recently announced by Linde and Daimler to open 20 new stations across Europe as part of the European Hydrogen Highway.  This partnership ties into the CEP’s and others’ efforts already underway. An important component of Germany’s hydrogen infrastructure work is a commitment to using renewable energy for the fuel’s production.

As of February 2012, there were 143 open or planned hydrogen stations in Europe and 128 open or planned in US. This is an increase from approximately 60 stations each in 2008. 

Japan’s HySUT announced a goal of 100 hydrogen stations in that country by 2015.  And in Italy, another collaboration is at work to implement a hydrogen highway between Monaco and Modena, characterized by one hydrogen filling station per 600 km.  This partnership between the Province of Bolzano Alto Adige, Brenner motorway and the Institute for Innovative Technology (IIT) is at work constructing a new hydrogen plant in Bolzano where CHIC Phase 1 fuel cell buses will be deployed. The Bolzano Sud plant will include hydrogen production, distribution, training, and an excellence center.

The CaFCP recently released a California Road Map: The Comercialization of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles to guide the placement of hydrogen fueling stations and launch the early commercial market for fuel cell vehicles.  The road map identifies 68 strategically placed stations required to be operational by the beginning of 2016.  They produced the following infographic to capture the story of the resources needed and expectations of the early market launch.

These publically supported calculated investments will provide infrastructure to support early fuel cell vehicle adopters. Transit is a clear fit to bolster these investments. Hydrogen in public transit is able to take these partnerships one step further by offering dependable fuel demand and centralized vehicle support structure.  Transit based stations mark important milestones in developing the hydrogen infrastructure necessary to commercialize fuel cell transportation.