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Schaeffler is increasing its involvement in hydrogen technology

Las baterías de placas bipolares son un componente importante del sistema de la pila de combustible/Stacked bipolar plates are an important component of the fuel cell system

Schaeffler is now a steering member in the Hydrogen Council, a globally active hydrogen interest group based in Belgium. The initiative comprises 81 leading companies from the energy, transport, and industrial sectors.

The goal of the members is to drive forward hydrogen technology in the direction of industrialization.

Establishing hydrogen technologies globally

We want to shape CO2-neutral, sustainable mobility with regard to the entire energy chain. We will accomplish this by using the enormous future potential of green hydrogen along the entire value-added chain, says Klaus Rosenfeld”, CEO of Schaeffler AG. “Joining the Hydrogen Council will enable us to further advance and establish hydrogen technologies together with strong partners globally.

With its goal of achieving maximum sustainability and CO2 neutrality, Schaeffler is shaping mobility and the associated energy chain as an automotive and industrial supplier. “Hydrogen technology offers enormous potential in this area, both in terms of energy storage and emissions-free drive solutions”, says Klaus Rosenfeld. “Our core expertise in materials technology, forming technology, and surface technology will enable the efficient high-volume production of key components for the future hydrogen economy and will make a significant contribution to the company’s success.

The establishment and development of research and development partnerships for developing and testing fuel cell components is also an important strategic task here. Schaeffler already joined the Bavarian Hydrogen Council last year.

Key components for fuel cells

Schaeffler has been focusing on the value-added chain of key components for fuel cells for some time. Bipolar plates are produced by precise forming and coating in the thin-layer range, which once stacked form an important component of the fuel cell system. The fuel cell stacks are energy converters, which let H2 react with O2 to form water. The electricity generated during this process can be used to power the vehicle’s electric motor. Schaeffler’s portfolio for optimized fuel cell systems is expanded by additional areas of expertise, such as electronic control systems, special high-performance bearings, smart thermal management modules or components for passive hydrogen recirculation.

Source: Schaeffler

CLH and the US company Plug Power have signed a collaboration agreement to extend the use of hydrogen in Spain through the design, implementation and operation of energy solutions based on this technology. This alliance will make it possible to offer comprehensive solutions to customers, such as retrofitting existing equipment to use hydrogen, selling new equipment, offering a steady supply of hydrogen and building and maintaining the required infrastructures. Therefore, the proposal offered to customers will be Hydrogen as a Service.

Under this agreement, the two companies will cooperate on the development of hydrogen-based energy solutions for diverse sectors and activities, including handling cargo, transporting goods, and other areas in which hydrogen-based solutions may afford advantages over the alternatives. In this regard, one area of particular interest is its use in powering forklifts and other equipment operated at ports and airports.

By using hydrogen as a fuel, no harmful emissions are released into the atmosphere because only steam is given off. In addition to generating no contaminating emissions, the use of hydrogen has other advantages such as the fact that it is completely silent when operating and refuelling is more convenient and faster, which makes steady operation possible. Hydrogen-based logistics and industrial energy solutions also pose an advantage in that they take up less space and eliminate the need for high power electrical connections. And, over their full lifecycle, they are often more economical than other alternative solutions.

CLH will guarantee a constant hydrogen supply, backed by its experience and knowledge in the design, construction, maintenance and operation of transport and storage networks, in addition to its capacity to design and implement energy solutions and offer services to industrial customers.

Plug Power is the global leader in the design and marketing of hydrogen fuel cell systems, with 28,000 fuel cells distributed on the international market and more than 270 million hours of operation in mobility applications.

The CLH Group is the leading company engaged in the transport and storage of oil products in the Spanish market and the second largest logistics operator in Europe in terms of the extension of its pipeline network and storage capacity. In Spain, it has a pipeline network over 4,000 kilometres in length and 39 storage facilities with capacity for 8 million cubic metres, as well as being present at the main Spanish airports. At the international level, the company is developing an ambitious expansion plan and conducts its business in the UK, Oman, Ireland, Panama and Ecuador.

Source: CLH

Sales of alternatively-powered vehicles are following a highly uneven pattern across EU member states, according to new findings from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA). Indeed, the consumer uptake of battery electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid electric passenger cars, as well as those fuelled by natural gas or hydrogen, differs strongly from country to country as a recent report points out.

For instance, the number of battery electric cars and plug-in hybrids (electrically-chargeable vehicles, or ECVs) sold last year ranged from just 93 cars in Latvia (0.6% market share) to 67,504 in Germany (2% market share), ACEA’s data shows.

This picture is very representative, as the consumer uptake of electrically-chargeable cars is particularly low in Central and Eastern Europe, with Poland for instance selling hardly any (0.2% of total passenger car sales). An ECV market share of more than 1.5% is something that is exclusive to Western European countries.

When it comes to electrically-chargeable vehicles, the ACEA report highlights not only an east-west divide, but also a marked north-south distinction. Indeed, electric cars represent less than 1% of total sales in Italy and Spain – the third and fourth largest EU economies respectively.

Clearly, the uptake of electrically-chargeable cars is correlated to a country’s standard of living, with half of all EU member states having a market share lower than 1%. In only four EU countries electrically-chargeable vehicles make up more than 2.5% of the car market.

ACEA’s report also shows that sales of cars running on natural gas are mainly concentrated in Italy and Germany (74% of the EU total), and that fuel-cell cars account for a negligible share of total EU passenger car sales for the time being.

If the extremely ambitious 2025 and 2030 CO2 targets set by the EU are to be achieved, sales of all types of alternatively-powered vehicles will have to pick up rapidly in all member states.

Source: ACEA

Renault extends the use of its electric light commercial vehicles with hydrogen. Tested since 2014, Groupe Renault’s hydrogen technology was developed in partnership with Symbio, a Groupe Michelin subsidiary. The vehicles are equipped with a range extender fuel cell providing electric and thermal power of 10 kW, increasing the range of Renault MASTER Z.E. Hydrogen and Renault KANGOO Z.E. Hydrogen to over 350 km. Another advantage of hydrogen is that charging takes just five to ten minutes. Hydrogen responds to the requirements of professionals not yet to be fulfilled by electric vehicles, notably for their long-distance travel needs.

Expected in first-half 2020, Renault MASTER Z.E. Hydrogen will triple the range from 120 km to 350* km and will be available in van (two versions) and chassis cab (two versions). Equipped with two hydrogen tanks located under the car body, the vehicle will gain in versatility with no compromises on the load volume from 10,8 m3 to 20 m3 with a reasonable additional weight of 200 kg.

From the end of 2019, Renault KANGOO Z.E. Hydrogen will boast the best real-life range of any electric van on the market at 370* km (vs 230 km WLTP with Kangoo Z.E.), with a load volume of 3.9 m3, despite a reasonable additional weight of 110 kg.

These hydrogen electric vehicles operate with a fuel cell, which combines hydrogen from its tanks with oxygen from the air to produce electricity (to power the electric motor). The first advantage: these vehicles meet the new environmental challenges of urban mobility. In addition, they offer increased autonomy, fast hydrogen recharging (from 5 to 10 minutes) and easy maintenance. These advantages make hydrogen electric light commercial vehicles particularly suitable for the intensive needs and uses of professionals in large urban areas up to the periphery of cities: transport and logistics, urban deliveries and multi-technical services, municipal and local authority services, express and special mail.

* WLTP certification under way

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At the Hydrogen for Climate Conference, EU companies Hydrogenics (BE), Meyer Burger (DE), Ecosolifer (HU), and European Energy (DK) presented their joint proposal for the European Union’s Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI).

The project proposal entitled ‘Silver Frog’ foresees the construction of a cutting-edge 2 GW/year solar PV manufacturing facility. This factory would provide over 10 GW of installed PV capacity, also including wind, for the production of 100% renewable hydrogen, transported by gas pipelines to hard-to-decarbonise industries, such as steel and chemicals. Over a period of eight years, the project is estimated to produce 800,000 tonnes of renewable hydrogen, and reduce 8 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, each year – approximately the CO2 footprint of the whole city of Brussels. At least 6,000 jobs are expected to be created as a result of the project.

In the proposal, Belgium’s Hydrogenics Europe would supply the water electrolysis technology, Germany’s Meyer Burger would supply the solar PV manufacturing line, Hungary’s Ecosolifer would produce the modules and focus on heterojunction technology (HJT), while Denmark’s European Energy would act as the energy developer. SolarPower Europe would offer support to its members throughout the project.

Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe said: “Solar is crucial in delivering fully renewable electricity throughout Europe. The ‘Silver Frog’ project reveals how solar can facilitate the development of renewable hydrogen. Further, this project’s emphasis on the integration of PV manufacturing facilities sends a strong signal to the European Commission that any discussions surrounding renewable hydrogen will require a robust renewable industrial strategy.

Thomas Hengst, Head of Global Sales at Meyer Burger commented: “The ‘Silver Frog’ project has the aim of helping to deliver the EU’s Green Deal, with a focus on hard-to-decarbonise sectors. The crucial element of our project is to develop a new European manufacturing capacity for solar PV cells and modules. The new technology has been developed in Europe and has the potential to establish sustainable and globally-competitive solar cell and module production thanks to its very high efficiency. By focusing on the production and transportation of renewable hydrogen, we can address existing and future demand, as well as offering the concept as an integrated solution.

The notion of Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) is laid down in Art. 107(3)(b) TFEU as part of the State aid rules. An IPCEI is a specific possibility to find aid compatible with the internal market.

The IPCEI on hydrogen includes eight ambitious proposals, all of which aim to develop the hydrogen sector, with projects surrounding the generation, transportation, and innovation of green hydrogen. The final selection for the IPCEI will take place in 2020.

Source: SolarPower Europe

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The in-depth study, which analyses hydrogen’s current state of play and offers guidance on its future development, is being launched by Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director, alongside Mr Hiroshige Seko, Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, on the occasion of the meeting of G20 energy and environment ministers in Karuizawa, Japan.

Hydrogen can help to tackle various critical energy challenges, including helping to store the variable output from renewables like solar PV and wind to better match demand. It offers ways to decarbonise a range of sectors (including long-haul transport, chemicals, and iron and steel) where it is proving difficult to meaningfully reduce emissions. It can also help to improve air quality and strengthen energy security.

A wide variety of fuels are able to produce hydrogen, including renewables, nuclear, natural gas, coal and oil. Hydrogen can be transported as a gas by pipelines or in liquid form by ships, much like liquefied natural gas (LNG). It can also be transformed into electricity and methane to power homes and feed industry, and into fuels for cars, trucks, ships and planes.

To build on this momentum, the IEA report offers seven key recommendations to help governments, companies and other stakeholders to scale up hydrogen projects around the world. These include four areas:

  • Making industrial ports the nerve centres for scaling up the use of clean hydrogen;
  • Building on existing infrastructure, such as natural gas pipelines;
  • Expanding the use of hydrogen in transport by using it to power cars, trucks and buses that run on key routes;
  • Launching the hydrogen trade’s first international shipping routes.

 

The report notes that hydrogen still faces significant challenges. Producing hydrogen from low-carbon energy is costly at the moment, the development of hydrogen infrastructure is slow and holding back widespread adoption, and some regulations currently limit the development of a clean hydrogen industry.

Today, hydrogen is already being used on an industrial scale, but it is almost entirely supplied from natural gas and coal. Its production, mainly for the chemicals and refining industries, is responsible for 830 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. That’s the equivalent of the annual carbon emissions of the United Kingdom and Indonesia combined.

Reducing emissions from existing hydrogen production is a challenge but also represents an opportunity to increase the scale of clean hydrogen worldwide. One approach is to capture and store or utilise the CO2 from hydrogen production from fossil fuels. There are currently several industrial facilities around the world that use this process, and more are in the pipeline, but a much greater number is required to make a significant impact.

Another approach is for industries to secure greater supplies of hydrogen from clean electricity. In the past two decades, more than 200 projects have started operation to convert electricity and water into hydrogen to reduce emissions.

Expanding the use of clean hydrogen in other sectors – such as cars, trucks, steel and heating buildings – is another important challenge. There are currently around 11,200 hydrogen-powered cars on the road worldwide. Existing government targets call for that number to increase dramatically to 2.5M by 2030.

Policy makers need to make sure market conditions are well adapted for reaching such ambitious goals. The recent successes of solar PV, wind, batteries and electric vehicles have shown that policy and technology innovation have the power to build global clean energy industries.

Enagás, with its subsidiary Enagás Emprende, Toyota España and Urbaser signed an agreement to carry out a pioneering project in Spain that will involve the installation of a hydrogen refuelling station for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and the commissioning of the first fleet of 12 Toyota Mirai units based in Madrid.

Hydrogen is the new energy vector that offers countless possibilities for energy consumption, storage and mobility. It is a viable, clean and sustainable alternative to traditional energy sources. These companies are committed to sustainable mobility, promoting its use in zero-emission vehicles.

The Toyota Mirai is a 100% fuel cell hybrid electric vehicle (FCHEV), powered by electricity produced by the chemical reaction between oxygen (taken from external air) and hydrogen stored in its tanks. It has an output of 155 HP with a range of more than 500 km (NEDC) and can be refuelled in under five minutes, offering a performance equivalent to a conventional vehicle. With water vapour being its only emission, it is a zero-emissions vehicle.

The agreement was signed by Marcelino Oreja (CEO of Enagás), Fernando Impuesto (General Manager of Enagás Emprende), José María López Piñol (CEO of Urbaser) and Miguel Carsi, President and CEO of Toyota Spain.

The hydrogen refuelling station will be located in the San Antonio S.L. service station, Avenida de Manoteras 34, Madrid, and will serve the companies taking part in the project.

According to Marcelino Oreja, CEO of Enagás, “Thanks to various projects, the company is a driving force in developing non-electric renewable energies, such as hydrogen and biomethane, as new solutions in the ecological transition process and in promoting a circular economy”. Regarding this pioneering initiative in Spain, he points out that “the companies that promote it are committed to new sustainable transport alternatives to improve air quality”.

Source: Enagás

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Abengoa takes part in the european Grasshopper (GRid ASsiSting modular HydrOgen Pem PowER plant) project, leading the design, construction and testing of a pilot plant, for subsequent scaling to MW. The objective of this new project is the creation of the next generation fuel cell power plants (FCPP) suitable for a flexible operation for grid support. The power plant will use green hydrogen and convert it into electricity and heat without emissions. With the variations in demand and consumption of energy from renewable sources such as sun and wind, a stable energy supply will rely more and more on flexible operation power plants.

The consortium consists, apart from Abengoa, INEA-Informatizacija Energetika Avtomatizacija, Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells Limited (JMFC), Nedstack fuel cell technology B.V., Politecnico di Milano (Polimi) and Zentrum für Brennstoffzellen Technik Gmbh (ZBT).

The development of a fuel cell system, with significant innovations in the membranes and other components, will be done through modelling, experiments and industrial experience by JMFC, ZBT and Nedstack. Polimi will provide support in the decision-making process through modelling activities and optimization. Implementation of the smart grid functionality into the FCPP control and grid integration will be done by INEA.

The demonstration unit will be installed in Delfzijl, where Akzo Nobel and Nedstack have been testing the fuel cell technology for over 10 years now, connecting to the hydrogen by-product stream of the modern chlorine production facility.

The kick-off meeting of the Grasshopper project took place at the beginning of January 2018 at the Akzo Nobel facilities, in Delfzijl, with the participation of the consortium partners, the members of the Advisory Board and the Project and Financial officers from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), unique public private partnership supporting research, technological development and demonstration (RTD) activities in fuel cell and hydrogen energy technologies in Europe. The demonstration phase and the end of the project will take place in Akzo Nobel facilities.

The Advisory Board, consisting of members from Akzo Nobel Industrial Chemicals B.V, Tennet TSO B.V, SWW Wunsiedel and members of GOFLEX consortium, will be consulted during the project phase.

Coordinated by INEA, the project Grasshopper will have a duration of 36 months a total budget of 4.4 M €. This project has received funding from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking under grant agreement No779430. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, Hydrogen Europe and Hydrogen Europe research.

Source: Abengoa

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The Chief Executive of Enagás, Marcelino Oreja, and the Chairman of Redexis Gas, Fernando Bergasa, signed today an agreement to boost renewable hydrogen by creating ‘H2Gas’, the aim of which is the technical development and encourage of production and transmission infrastructure for hydrogen generated from renewable sources.

Under the H2Gas brand, Enagás and Redexis Gas are finalising an initial project which will consist of the development of the necessary technology to produce renewable hydrogen for its use in the industry and mobility sectors. Moreover, both companies will work jointly to advance and develop renewable hydrogen for its introduction into the gas transmission and distribution network. The project comprehends the use of Power-to-Gas technology, allowing hydrogen to be produced from water and electricity and injected into the gas grid, either directly or converted into synthetic natural gas or biomethane.

In the context of energy transition, renewable hydrogen is being positioned as a new, comprehensive energy vector, given that it can be transformed into different forms of energy: electricity, synthetic gas and heat, for its use in multiple applications. Renewable hydrogen enables new connections to be created between energy supply and demand, bringing flexibility to the energy system.

From the environmental perspective, it will be a key energy source for reducing CO2 emissions, in line with the aims of the Paris Agreement. Furthermore, it is seen as a viable short-term option because its use suits to the existing gas network infrastructure, which is already prepared to store and transport both natural gas and gases produced from renewable sources.

The participation of Enagás in H2Gas falls within the framework of the company’s Corporate Entrepreneurship and Open Innovation Programme, Enagás Emprende, and is a step ahead in its commitment to contribute to the development of a low-carbon model. The company has also taken the lead in Renovagas, a pioneering R&D project in Europe that involves the design, construction and trial operation of a 15 kWh pilot plant for the production of synthetic natural gas from biogas and hydrogen. Enagás is currently participating in other initiatives to promote the use of these renewable gases.

In turn, Redexis gas is using the H2Gas project to advance its strategy of advocating and investing in R&D projects based on sustainable energies that bring about technological innovation and promote energy-related and environmental sustainability. This will enable it to accommodate the development of new technologies involving renewable hydrogen as a new energy vector. Redexis Gas maintains a firm commitment to promote the future use of hydrogen, and has been a member of the board of trustees of the Foundation for the Development of New Hydrogen Technologies in Aragon since 2015.

Source: Enagás

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The Everywh2ere Project—part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme to ensure the sustainable development and competitiveness of the European economy—will develop gensets using hydrogen fuel cells instead of the traditional fuel-based solutions. This will eliminate the CO2 emissions, noise and fumes produced by existing generator types, leading to hardware that is more environmentally sustainable and can be used in applications where conventional generators are not suitable.

The twelve partners* forming the consortium come from different areas of specialisation (hydrogen supply, engine manufacture, environmental consultancy, and construction), which will generate synergies for the adaptation of the hydrogen engine technology currently used in ships and trucks to applications in construction sites, music festivals, public events in cities, emergency situations, natural disasters and critical buildings (such as hospitals, data centres, etc.).

The five-year project, with a budget of approximately 7 million euros, is aimed at realising 8 plug and play fuel-cell gensets, with different outputs (25 kW and 100 kW), for testing from 2020 onwards at, among others, a number of music festivals, and at construction sites managed by Acciona, such as roads and tunnels, with a view to extrapolating the experience for commercial marketability from 2023.

*The organisations participating in EVERYWH2ERE along with Acciona are: PowerCell d’Appolonia; VTT; Genport SRL; Swiss Hydrogen SA; Mahytec SARL; Fundación para el Desarrollo de las Nuevas Tecnologías del Hidrógeno en Aragón; Delta1; Parco scientifico e tecnologico per l’ambiente SpA; ICLEI European Secretariat GMBH and Linde Gas. The project received funding from the Horizon 2020 Programme (grant reference 779606).

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