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Together with Daimler, Linde will be building twenty additional hydrogen fuelling stations in Germany and thus ensuring smooth supply for the continually growing number of fuel-cell vehicles with hydrogen produced exclusively from regenerative raw materials. This project is being supported by Germany's Federal Ministry of Transport and is part of the initiative it announced in June 2012 for significantly increasing the number of public hydrogen fuelling stations in that country. The new stations will be built in the existing hydrogen regions of Stuttgart, Berlin and Hamburg as well as along a new continuous north-south and east-west connection. This means that for the first time, all locations in Germany will be accessible with a fuel-cell automobile.
Together for a green future
Together with oil and gas, utility and automobile players, Linde has helped launch numerous initiatives and pilot projects with the support of national governments in Japan, Canada, the US and the EU. Germany has been identified as the prospective lead market for zero-emission mobility within Europe and the first series-produced fuel-cell cars are set to hit the roads in Germany from 2014/2015 on. And drivers will be able to fill up at an established network of hydrogen fuelling stations. The number of stations in this network will gradually be increased in sync with the number of hydrogen-fuelled cars on the roads. Under the umbrella of the 'H2 Mobility' initiative, a large number of companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding pledging to establish a nationwide hydrogen infrastructure in Germany.
Although Germany is generally seen as the hydrogen pioneer, national initiatives, demo centres and new H2 fuelling stations are springing up across the globe as the existing hydrogen infrastructure expands. Linde is involved in nearly all major projects worldwide, including fuelling station projects in Austria, Japan, the Czech Republic, Canada, the US, China, the UK, the Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Norway, France and Australia. In the US, the Group is also an active member and technology partner in the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP), which was founded back in 1999.
Worldwide mobility with hydrogen
The company AC Transit, for example, carries passengers between 13 cities in the San Francisco Bay Area. From January 2011, it will also be operating hydrogen buses in the region. The fuelling technology at the two new fuelling stations – which can also be used by cars – was provided by Linde. The stations have capacity to supply 12 buses and up to 20 fuel-cell cars with hydrogen at normal fuelling speeds. Part of the hydrogen is stored in liquid form in an on-site tank (34,000 litres), where an ionic compressor converts it to a gaseous state for fuelling purposes. The remaining amount will be produced on site using an electrolyser to generate hydrogen.
Japan has also launched a national initiative to promote hydrogen technology. Founded in July 2009, the H2 Supply/ Utilisation Technology (HYSUT) project has brought together thirteen companies committed to advancing the development and operation of a hydrogen infrastructure for fuel-cell vehicles and private customers with stationary fuel cells.
In addition, Linde is a founding member of the Clean Energy Partnership (CEP) established in 2004. Other members include BMW, Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG), Daimler, Ford, GM/Opel, Hydro/GHW, Statoil, Toyota, Vattenfall Europe and Volkswagen. The CEP started off with a hydrogen project in Berlin to demonstrate the viability of H2 as a transport fuel in real-life conditions. Phase three of the Clean Energy Partnership is set to run from 2011 to 2016 and will focus on a more sustainable hydrogen value chain. This phase will concentrate on strengthening the Berlin-Hamburg corridor and perhaps linking it to Scandinavia. Phase three will also involve establishing a cross-regional hydrogen production portfolio, with a high regenerative share in the mix.
New H2 fuelling stations in Germany and Austria
Linde has helped establish numerous fuelling stations, some open to the public, through its own independent projects and through the H2 initiatives mentioned above. In the middle of May 2009, OMV opened the first public hydrogen fuelling station in the German state of Baden-Württemberg in collaboration with Linde and Daimler AG. Located at Stuttgart airport, this innovative hydrogen fuelling station can refuel the latest generation of fuel-cell vehicles, including the Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL car, with 700-bar technology. Thanks to Linde's new ionic compressor technology, refuelling only takes three minutes. Linde opened yet another OMV fuelling station in October 2012 in Vienna.
This technology is also in use at a TOTAL hydrogen fuelling station in Berlin's Heerstrasse. The station offers gaseous hydrogen at 350-bar and 700-bar fuelling pumps for buses and cars.
In June 2011, Linde and Daimler agreed on further steps to accelerate expansion of the existing fuelling infrastructure. Over the coming three years, the two companies will be building 20 additional hydrogen fuelling stations in Germany and thus ensuring smooth H2 supply for fuel-cell vehicles. This collaboration will involve a double-digit million euro investment and form a bridge between the existing H2 Mobility and Clean Energy Partnership (CEP) infrastructures. The aim is to use conveniently located sites of various oil companies. The 20 new H2 fuelling stations will be supplied with hydrogen from climate-neutral hydrogen produced in Germany's only industrial hydrogen liquefaction plant in Leuna.
Linde was also involved in a further major public fuelling station in Berlin under the CEP umbrella. The new station features an underground LH2 storage tank plus Linde's new cryo pump, and has been open for business since spring 2011.
Examples of modern H2 infrastructure
One example demonstrating that Linde's H2 concepts are mature enough for deployment in confined city centre locations is a hydrogen fuelling station built in the middle of Hamburg's HafenCity docklands area. The new station for Vattenfall is to be integrated with the surrounding architecture. Linde was the proud winner of this turnkey project, which includes ionic compressors for high-pressure hydrogen
At the Linde Hydrogen Centre near Munich, Linde also runs demo and test systems as proof of concept for modern hydrogen infrastructures. This unique facility bundles a hydrogen fuelling station, a technology test centre, a training forum and a presentation platform under one roof. The heart of the facility is the fuelling station, which supplies a fleet of hydrogen-powered test cars and forklift trucks with both liquid hydrogen (LH2) and compressed gaseous hydrogen (CGH2).
Economic hydrogen-driven forklift
Since 2004, Linde has kicked off numerous demo projects involving hydrogen-powered forklift trucks and other lifts and trucks. At major distribution centres of Wal-Mart, the largest chain of department stores in the US, Linde demonstrated the benefits of fuel cells over batteries to power the company's forklift trucks. And the list was impressive – low noise levels, zero exhaust fumes, no harmful substances such as lead or acid and uninterrupted uptime without delays for battery changes or recharging.
In mid-August 2010, Linde consolidated this position by signing a contract with the BMW Manufacturing Co. plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, to provide hydrogen technology for the plant's forklift fleet. Over 85 lifts and trucks that deliver process parts to assembly machines throughout the plant are being gradually converted from battery to fuel-cell drives. Thanks to hydrogen technology, this part of BMW's internal logistics operations runs on zero emissions. The vehicles are refuelled at six dispenser stations equipped with Linde's ionic compressors. The hydrogen used to fuel the trucks is a by-product from a chemical plant. Linde uses CO2-free electricity from a hydroelectric power station to process and liquefy the hydrogen. The switch to hydrogen holds many benefits for BMW. The trucks can be refuelled in less than three minutes, for example, which is considerably faster than the 20 minutes or so required for a battery change. Furthermore, the two-kilo capacity hydrogen tank enables the trucks to run for eight to ten hours and, in contrast to batteries, vehicle performance remains consistent throughout the entire shift. The plant's energy consumption has fallen now that the charging stations are no longer used and it no longer has to dispose of the lead-acid batteries.