That the German automakers are not at the forefront of plug-in vehicle technology should not be a surprise to anyone. This doesn't mean that they're not participating with plug-ins – they are – just that they are more interested in alternative fuels like wasserstoff (hydrogen).

Thus Daimler has announced it is one of many organizations – including the German Federal Ministry of Transportation, Air Liquide, Air Products, Linde and Total Germany – that has signed a Letter of Intent to spend over 40 million euros ($50.8 million U.S. at today's exchange rates) to increase the number of public hydrogen stations in Germany from 15 today to "at least 50" by 2015. That may not sound like a lot, but given Germany's smaller physical size and vehicle fleet, it's substantial. Last fall, Daimler said that a major city needs around ten hydrogen stations to adequately support fuel cell vehicles, at the beginning, at least. Hyundai has found that the hydrogen infrastructure as it exists in Europe today is already quite sufficient to drive from Norway to Monaco. Germany has the most robust H2 infrastructure in Europe, with the first public station going online in mid-2009. Daimler and Linde have been working together for a while on public H2 stations.
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50 hydrogen filling stations for Germany: Federal Ministry of Transportation and industrial partners build nationwide network of filling stations

Berlin, Jun 20, 2012

The German Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS) and several industrial companies today signed a joint Letter of Intent to expand the network of hydrogen filling stations in Germany. By 2015, Germany will have a supply network of at least 50 public filling stations.

As part of the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP), Germany's federal government and industrial sector are investing more than 40 million EUR to expand the country's network of hydrogen filling stations from currently 15 to 50. This will serve as a market-relevant testing of innovative filling-station technology and ensure a needs-driven supply for the 5,000 fuel cell vehicles that are expected to be on the road in Germany at that time. The expansion plan focuses on the country's metropolitan regions and the creation of corridors connecting these metropolitan regions.

The Letter of Intent was signed by Federal Minister Dr. Peter Ramsauer and representatives of the companies Air Liquide, Air Products, Daimler, Linde and Total Germany. The federal government's own NOW GmbH (National Organisation for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology) will coordinate the construction of the filling stations.

The network of hydrogen filling stations accompanies the commercialisation of fuel cell vehicles that the automobile industry has announced for 2014/15. Mobility using hydrogen is already being extensively and successfully tested for everyday use. As the largest demonstration project in the area of hydrogen mobility, the Clean Energy Partnership (CEP) has been doing excellent groundwork since 2002 and continues to collect valuable research and practical results on filling station technology and infrastructure. The standards developed by the partnership will now be used to successfully introduce hydrogen as a fuel in Germany.

Dr. Peter Ramsauer, Federal Minister of Transport, Building and Urban Development, said: "Electric vehicles equipped with hydrogen fuel cells generate no harmful emissions. They also have a high range and can be refuelled within minutes. To facilitate their introduction to the market, we need a network of filling stations that covers the major metropolitan areas and connects them to each other. We are therefore partnering with private industry to construct a total of 50 hydrogen filling stations in Germany by the year 2015. By doing so, we create the basis for a demand-driven infrastructure for refuelling hydrogen vehicles."

Markus Sieverding, Chairman of the AIR LIQUIDE Germany GmbH management board, said: "The task at hand is no longer to realise stand-alone filling station projects. We need to develop technical standards and work together to create sensible, viable infrastructure solutions for the future. Being able to drive a hydrogen car from Munich to Hamburg or from Aachen to Potsdam should be a matter of course – that is what we are all working on!"

Ivo Bols, Vice President and General Manager Merchant Gases-Europe, on behalf of Air Products GmbH: "Germany is among the world's most active and advanced countries when it comes to using sustainable, alternative mobility solutions. As the largest producer of industrial hydrogen and a pioneer in the use of hydrogen as a fuel, Air Products supports the development of technologies that are helpful in building an economically viable hydrogen infrastructure. So we are very glad to contribute to the success of this initiative with the latest generation of our hydrogen filling stations."

Prof. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development: "Electric vehicles equipped with a battery and fuel cell will make a considerable contribution to sustainable mobility in the future. However, the success of fuel cell technology depends crucially on certain conditions being in place, such as the availability of a nationwide hydrogen infrastructure. Together with Linde, we took the initiative in 2011 and decided to jointly establish 20 of the H2 filling stations sponsored by the BMVBS in Germany. Because it is very customer-friendly – with its great range and short refilling times – fuel cell technology has enormous potential for massively advancing Germany on its path to becoming the lead market for electric mobility."

Dr. Andreas Opfermann, Head of Clean Energy & Innovation Management at Linde AG, said: "We are pleased that the Federal Traffic Ministry has taken Linde´s and Daimler's initiative as an occasion to broaden the initiative's base with a shared concept for establishing a nationwide hydrogen infrastructure in conjunction with other participants, thereby turning the 20 filling stations into 50. This will empower Germany to take global leadership in a particularly promising field. As a trailblazer in matters of hydrogen technology, we will continue to advance this development together with our partners. Like no other fuel, hydrogen stands for environmentally friendly, low-emissions mobility – even on long hauls."

Dr. Klaus Bonhoff, Managing Director of NOW GmbH (National Organisation for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology), adds: "Today's agreement lays the foundation for a demand-driven supply of hydrogen as fuel for transport in Germany. When fuel cell vehicles begin to be introduced to the market in 2015, customers must be able to refuel in the metropolitan regions and along the major motorways. By building the nationwide network, Germany's government and industry is jump-starting the development of zero-emissions mobility using hydrogen."

Hans-Christian Gützkow, Managing Director of TOTAL Germany GmbH, commented:

"TOTAL has been active in hydrogen mobility research in Germany for ten years now. Already, we operate five hydrogen filling stations in Berlin, Hamburg and Munich. Since last year, we have partnered with the Brandenburg-based wind power company Enertrag to show how green hydrogen can be produced from excess wind energy. This makes hydrogen mobility a perfect complement to the shift to alternative energy, and a real opportunity for innovative companies."


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