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Mercedes-Benz F-Cell World Tour – Click above for high-res image gallery

Daimler, in cooperation with The Linde Group, is pressing forward with the development of a hydrogen fueling infrastructure in Germany. Over the next three years, the two firms will install an additional 20 hydrogen stations across the nation.

This initiative links in with the existing H2 Mobility and Clean Energy Partnership projects, which are subsidized by the National Innovation Programme for hydrogen and fuel cell technology. This, according to Daimler, places Germany at the international forefront of hydrogen infrastructure development. Judging by our extended time in the Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-Cell, an expansion of the existing hydrogen fueling infrastructure is definitely needed.

The Daimler-Linde initiative will more than triple the number of public hydrogen fueling stations in Germany. The stations will be located in Stuttgart, Berlin and Hamburg as well as along two routes; one that runs north-south and one that crosses Germany in the east-west direction. Construction of the fueling stations will begin in 2012.


  • Mercedes-Benz B_Class F-CELL; Stuttgart to Reims / France
  • Mercedes-Benz B_Class F-CELL; Stuttgart to Reims / France
  • Mercedes-Benz B_Class F-CELL; Stuttgart to Reims / France
  • Mercedes-Benz B_Class F-CELL; Stuttgart to Reims / France
  • Mercedes-Benz B_Class F-CELL; Stuttgart to Reims / France
  • Mercedes-Benz B_Class F-CELL; Stuttgart to Reims / France
  • Mercedes-Benz B_Class F-CELL; Stuttgart to Reims / France
  • Mercedes-Benz B_Class F-CELL; Stuttgart to Reims / France
  • Mercedes-Benz B_Class F-CELL; Stuttgart to Reims / France
  • Mercedes-Benz B_Class F-CELL; Stuttgart to Reims / France
  • Mercedes-Benz B_Class F-CELL; Stuttgart to Reims / France
  • Mercedes-Benz B_Class F-CELL; Stuttgart to Reims / France
  • Mercedes-Benz B_Class F-CELL; Stuttgart to Reims / France
  • Mercedes-Benz B_Class F-CELL; Stuttgart to Reims / France
  • Mercedes-Benz B_Class F-CELL; Stuttgart to Reims / France

Photos copyright ©2011 Michael Harley / AOL and Mercedes-Benz

[Source: Daimler]
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Linde and Daimler press ahead with development of infrastructure for fuel-cell vehicles

Jun 01, 2011

Joint project agreed to build 20 hydrogen (H2) filling stations in Germany

Significant contribution for Germany as the lead market for electromobility

Major impetus for existing H2 infrastructure initiatives

Stuttgart/Munich, 1 June 2011 – Car manufacturer Daimler and the technology company The Linde Group are pressing ahead with the development of an infrastructure for hydrogen-powered fuel-cell vehicles. Over the coming three years, the two companies plan to construct an additional 20 hydrogen filling stations in Germany, thereby ensuring a supply of hydrogen produced purely from renewable resources for the steadily increasing number of fuel-cell vehicles on the roads. The initiative links in with the existing H2 Mobility and Clean Energy Partnership infrastructure projects, which are being subsidised by the National Innovation Programme for hydrogen and fuel-cell technology (NIP). This places Germany at the international forefront of hydrogen infrastructure development.

The initiative that Linde and Daimler are embarking upon involves investment running into the tens of millions, and is set to more than triple the number of public hydrogen refuelling points in Germany. The new stations will be located in the current hydrogen centres of Stuttgart, Berlin and Hamburg as well as along two new continuous north-south and east-west axes. The aim is to use existing sites belonging to different petroleum companies that are strategically located in the traffic network. This will make it possible to drive anywhere in Germany with a fuel-cell-powered vehicle for the first time. One of the focal points for the infrastructure's extension will be in Baden-Württemberg, where, 125 years after the invention of the motor car, the stage is being set for its reinvention.

"Together with the fuel cell, hydrogen is set to be of fundamental importance to the expansion of electromobility," explained Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Reitzle, Chief Executive Officer of Linde AG. "We are delighted to be able to play such an instrumental role in shaping this development together with Daimler. We see ourselves as providing an impetus for existing initiatives, such as H2 Mobility and the Clean Energy Partnership (CEP), and wish to support the commercialisation of hydrogen vehicles as best we can. By systematically developing hydrogen technology, Germany can assume a pioneering role in this field and establish itself as the industry leader as we move towards emission-free mobility."

"The fuel cell represents a decisive step forward for electromobility, as it enables zero-emission driving with high ranges and short refuelling times – and not just for passenger cars, but for commercial vehicles too. In partnership with Linde, we are now taking the next step by getting things going on the infrastructure side. 20 new hydrogen filling stations will give the market a major stimulus," remarked Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars at the finish of the Mercedes-Benz F-CELL World Drive in Stuttgart. Having started off from Stuttgart at the end of January, the first circumnavigation of the globe in fuel-cell vehicles took in four continents and 14 countries. Each of the vehicles involved covered over 30,000 kilometres. Linde accompanied the F-CELL World Drive as the exclusive hydrogen partner, providing the zero-emission vehicles with a mobile supply of hydrogen for the duration of the tour.

Construction and commissioning of the new filling stations will already start in 2012. Other partners from the petroleum, power supply or automotive industries, for instance, are welcome to become involved in the joint initiative that has been set up by Daimler and Linde.

Background: the infrastructure of hydrogen filling stations in Germany
The successful introduction of fuel-cell vehicles depends on the development of a public hydrogen supply infrastructure. The first centres have already sprung up in large metropolitan areas, such as Berlin and Hamburg. There are nearly 30 hydrogen refuelling points in Germany at the current time, seven of which are integrated into a public filling station facility. This means that Germany clearly leads the way in Europe. To begin with, just five to ten filling stations are sufficient for conveniently servicing the requirements of a large city. Joining up these urban centres – for example Berlin with Hamburg, Stuttgart with Munich – by means of corridors along the arterial roads between them is a major step forward towards the establishment of a nationwide public H2 infrastructure.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 24 Comments
      Nick
      • 4 Years Ago
      I bet the hydrogen is derived from natural gas. In other words, the environmental impact of this will be negative.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Nick
        'Analysing the different excess margin scenarios it appears that a potential of 2-10bn m3 hydrogen might be available as "surplus hydrogen" in Europe, either in the form of excess capacity (0-5bn m3) or by-product hydrogen (2-5bn m3). This surplus volume is far from negligible: with 2-10bn m3 hydrogen it is possible to supply about 1-6 million vehicles. That number, though, represents only 1.5-3% of all vehicles in the EU (estimated at 190m) and would cover a substantial Hydrogen Community or early adopter market, probably in locations closest to the surplus (it is, for example, much more than the total number of fossil-fuelled hybrid vehicles in the market today). ' http://www.ika.rwth-aachen.de/r2h/index.php/European_Hydrogen_Infrastructure_and_Production
          JakeY
          • 4 Years Ago
          What are the emissions associated with that "surplus"? Surplus is not the same as emissions free. Just as how emissions from producing excess steam is counted in electricity (when a powerplant has to vent to adjust to lower demand), the emissions from that surplus still has to be counted. However, Linde in the press release promised that the hydrogen will be from "renewable" sources (also not the same as emissions free), but we'll probably get more details later.
          • 4 Years Ago
          Fordinsight: Unfortunately the world does not always operate in accordance with our personal notions of propriety. Personally I think that batteries work very well for delivery vehicles, better than for private cars, as they routes tend to be regular.
        letstakeawalk
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Nick
        "Over the coming three years, the two companies plan to construct an additional 20 hydrogen filling stations in Germany, thereby ensuring a supply of hydrogen produced purely from renewable resources for the steadily increasing number of fuel-cell vehicles on the roads." As David has already mentioned, there is ample surplus hydrogen to meet the demand of early HFCV users. Likewise, the production of hydrogen from renewable sources is a major part of the implementation of solar and wind generation in Germany. As we have seen in the Pacific Northwest recently, there are times when renewable generation simply cannot be handled by the grid. Converting excess renewable generation into hydrogen not only utilizes sources that would otherwise be wasted, it provides an economic cushion to encourage wind turbine operators to invest in more turbines without worrying that the electric utility might refuse to buy their production.
          • 4 Years Ago
          @letstakeawalk
          Iceland and Mitsubishi are building plant to make use of geothermal to make hydrogen and combine it with CO2 from industrial plant to produce DME replacing half Iceland's diesel use in combustion engines by 2015: http://www.ipt.ntnu.no/~jsg/undervisning/naturgass/oppgaver/Oppgaver2010/10Huot-Marchand.pdf 'Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is planning to open a DME plant in 2014, in Iceland. A two step process is adopted to produce DME, via methanol, produced from carbon dioxide and hydrogen. To end that, the flue gas from the ELKEM ferrosilicon plant is fed to the MHI’s CO2 recovery process, using KS-1 solvent, after sulfur removal in a wet scrubber. Hydrogen is generated by electrolysis of water. Then, the methanol synthesis is developed by Mitsubishi Gas Chemical (MGC) and a MHI/MGC superconverter is used. But it is possible to improve methanol production using natural gas and coal. Hydrogen could be also used more efficiently by reducing water formation. The DME is then produced using a -Al2O3 catalyst. The good point is that all environmental regulations are respected and the plant does not discharge any harmful material to the environment. Besides, the combined emissions from both plants will be much less than the ELKEM plant emissions. The design capacity is set at 500 Metric Tons Per Day and supplies half of the Iceland demand.'
          commentssyssucks
          • 4 Years Ago
          @letstakeawalk
          the link provided talks about using the generated hydrogen specifically as a reactant with CO2 scrubbed from a coal fired power plant to create intermediate products such as carbon monoxide or formic acid or to burn it in turbines to generate energy. This seems more logical than using it for motive power. Suspiciously absent from this press release is any mention of economics. This makes me suspicious that it is not cost competitive with flywheel or battery storage of excess grid energy.
          letstakeawalk
          • 4 Years Ago
          @letstakeawalk
          "The paper showed that due to the ongoing build-out of intermittent renewable generation capacity and limited part-load ability of dispatchable power plants, significant amounts of excess electricity will accrue in the German electricity system in the future." http://juwel.fz-juelich.de:8080/dspace/bitstream/2128/4044/1/HP6_2_Stiller_rev0426.pdf "At the moment, massive investments are being made in wind and solar power. The yield from these renewable resources, however, varies depending on the weather conditions. Industry is therefore looking for ways to intelligently utilize the surpluses that sometimes arise. After all, at the moment, it is sometimes necessary to decouple wind farms from the grid because there are no consumers for the power they generate." http://www.siemens.com/innovation/en/news_events/ct_pressreleases/e_research_news/2011/e_22_resnews_1107_2.htm
          letstakeawalk
          • 4 Years Ago
          @letstakeawalk
          commentssyssucks The point was that renewables will be used to produce hydrogen. How that hydrogen is used really isn't relevant, except in as much as it does illustrate the value of hydrogen in the open market. Hydrogen can be (and is) used in a wide variety of industrial processes, including as David points out, the creation of renewable fuels. The value that hydrogen has ensures that there will be a steady development stream of processes and techniques to make, store, and transport it in increasingly economically efficient ways.
      Dave D
      • 4 Years Ago
      But is most of the surplus coming from nukes and will they screw that up as they race to dismantel all things nuclear to show who is the "most anti-nuke" as they try to curry favor in the current environment? Freakin morons...talk about throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
      Doug
      • 4 Years Ago
      "... involves investment running into the tens of millions... The aim is to use existing sites belonging to different petroleum companies..." How many tens of millions? For only 20 stations on existing sites?? How much does it cost per station? How much would it cost to set up a charging network spanning Germany like @dpeilow set up for the UK?
      Chris M
      • 4 Years Ago
      If adding 20 is "more than tripling", that implies 5 or less H2 refueling stations now. That's still not going to support very many H2 vehicles, so it will continue to be a "test fleet" only. Worlwide, they - might - make it past 100 H2 refueling stations. Recharging outlets will outnumber it by ten thousand to one, and even fast chargers will outnumber H2 refueling facilities by nearly 100 to 1. Even with the backing of industrial gas supplier Linde and the oil companies, I just don't see a more expensive and less efficient H2 fuel cell system catching on. The future is electric.
        letstakeawalk
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Chris M
        If you read further they also say: "There are nearly 30 hydrogen refuelling points in Germany at the current time, seven of which are integrated into a public filling station facility." I admit, the "tripling" seems confusing until you do the math (you made an error there). If you have seven stations, and you add twenty more, you now have 27 public stations, which is an increase of 3.8 times (more than triple, but not quite quadruple).
      • 4 Years Ago
      From the press release: 'The aim is to use existing sites belonging to different petroleum companies that are strategically located in the traffic network. This will make it possible to drive anywhere in Germany with a fuel-cell-powered vehicle for the first time.'
      JakeY
      • 4 Years Ago
      As long as they are public, they are still useful. If they are private stations, then its really not that useful. Now it's up to the German automakers to make hydrogen cars available for sale (at a reasonable price). Judging by their foot dragging with EVs, I'm not that optimistic.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @JakeY
        They are public, from the press release, and are in addition to the 7 public refuelling stations Germany already has.
      Neil Blanchard
      • 4 Years Ago
      How many vehicles per day can these stations fill? Are they going to be limited by the time it takes to compress the hydrogen? How many hydrogen powered cars are there in Germany? What is the geographic distribution of these stations? Is the hydrogen coming from making chlorine, or is it reformed natural gas, or from water electrolysis? Neil
        letstakeawalk
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Neil Blanchard
        All very good questions! Hopefully, we'll continue to have articles here on ABG to enlighten us as the station progress. These stations aren't being built for the FCVs that are already here, they're being built for the FCVs that will be coming around 2015. Generally, these stations will be built along major corridors and in major hubs: "The new stations will be located in the current hydrogen centres of Stuttgart, Berlin and Hamburg as well as along two new continuous north-south and east-west axes. The aim is to use existing sites belonging to different petroleum companies that are strategically located in the traffic network. This will make it possible to drive anywhere in Germany with a fuel-cell-powered vehicle for the first time."
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Neil Blanchard
        The Linde station can provide 25kg/hour: http://www.linde-gas.com/en/images/OMV%20hydrogen%20fuelling%20station,%20Stuttgart,%20Germany17-15304.pdf
          Dave D
          • 4 Years Ago
          That is a little over 4 vehicles per hour. So, in a perfect world, they could charge about 675 vehicles per week. Of course, people aren't going to line up 24x7 to use the stations, but this still gives you an idea. Most of the FCVs get pretty good mileage and would probably only need to fill up every couple of weeks over there as they don't average as many miles as we do in the states. So those 27 stations could handle, theoretically, over ~30,000 FCVs. That's a decent start for an infrastructure. If most or even half of that money comes from private sources, then I can't complain about too much :-)
          • 4 Years Ago
          It's a skeleton infrastructure only, as to make a hydrogen car practical at all you would need a filling station near your house although you could then travel throughout Germany. Although a fan of fuel cells, I am by no means convinced about hydrogen, so a skeleton network seems about the right level to me for the present, and moaning about the relatively small costs simply trying to pick winners too soon.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hi Dave. I think Germany's energy policies are idiotic too, but the surplus hydrogen has nothing to do with the nuclear program. Check out the article in the link I gave. Most of it comes from the production of things like ammonia. There may be hassles purifying the hydrogen that is spare to the purity needed by fuel cells, but at least in theory there should not be an issue in providing enough hydrogen from the surplus for the first few years, and in practise even if natural gas is used the amounts will be very small.
      Ford Future
      • 4 Years Ago
      Then the hydrogen should be used in commercial vans.
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