There are more and more announcements in the field of hydrogen. On October 28, the French automotive supplier Plastic Omnium formalized the creation of a joint venture with the German ElringKlinger. The new company, named EKPO Fuel Cell Technology, wants to develop, produce and market fuel cell systems for commercial vehicles (buses, trucks and utility vehicles) and, secondly, for individual vehicles.
EKPO will build on the already existing production capacities of the German partner and will be able to produce 10,000 fuel cells as of next year. It wants to become a world leader by 2030.
The interest in hydrogen is the same on the side of the German heavy truck manufacturer, Daimler Truck. On November 2, he also announced the creation of a joint venture with the Swedish group Volvo, in order to produce its first fuel cells within 3 years.
Heavy industry interested
Beyond the transport sector, it is especially heavy industry, a huge producer of CO2, which scrutinizes the development of hydrogen. In addition to the Rhine, Germany’s number 2 in steel, Salzgitter, is a pioneer, with a decarbonisation program launched in 2016 and the installation, in August, of a high-temperature electrolyser at its site in Lower Saxony. It should be able to produce 100 tonnes of green hydrogen (from renewable energies) by the end of 2022.
“Our goal is to reduce our CO production by 95%2, thanks to gas and hydrogen, recalled Heinz-Jörg Fuhrmann, CEO of the group, at the end of August. Decarbonizing our production comes at a cost, but we have found that hydrogen is the cheapest solution. “
Germany aims for leadership
Aware of the difficulty in reducing the production of CO2 in heavy industry and the transport sector, the German federal authorities presented in June a national strategy of 7 billion euros. The goal is to develop research, local production of green hydrogen, fuel cells as well as storage and delivery infrastructure.
“With this strategy, Germany can hope to establish itself as a leader in low-carbon heavy industry” comments Claudia Kemfert of the DIW Economic Institute in Berlin. The projects are not only national. Berlin and Paris announced in September a partnership in this area which must be refined by the end of the year.
The role of public authorities
On the ground, actors like Salzgitter recall that they did not wait for state incentives to act but welcome the “Awareness” national and European authorities. The same goes for Plastic Omnium and ElringKlinger. “We are doing our part of the work by developing new solutions and technologies in the field of mobility, Laurent Favre, CEO of Plastic Omnium recalled last week at a press conference. However, we need the support of the authorities to develop infrastructure and distribution. “
→ INVESTIGATION. Projects around hydrogen as an energy source are multiplying
In any case, the potential of hydrogen seems real. In a report published this week, the consulting firm, Aurora Research, estimates the revenues generated by this energy in Europe to be more than 120 billion euros per year by 2050. Germany leads the most attractive to investors.