Linde have produced a new report that shows moderate costs to build a hydrogen infrastructure throughout Europe by 2020.

With a total value of around €3.5 billion, the cost of developing a hydrogen infrastructure in Europe by the year 2020 is significantly lower than previously believed. That is the conclusions of a study of the economic feasibility of a hydrogen infrastructure presented today in Berlin by the Linde technology group as part of “International Hydrogen Day”.

The author of the study, renowned energy expert David Hart, introduced its contents to approximately 200 participants from the economy and media. The study states facts and figures and puts costing on a firm footing. Some of the main findings were that, based on Germany, the infrastructure to supply 1.9 million cars with hydrogen would cost around €870 million. The study also said that a centralised hydrogen production and storage could provide hydrogen for 41 million vehicles if approximately €18.5 billion were invested. Investors who were willing to invest in the implementation of a hydrogen infrastructure would expect to see profits after 10 to 15 years. Furthermore, the price for hydrogen was reported as half the price of fuel. It said that due to high taxes on fuel, hydrogen could already be competitive today.

These figures were compared to other projects abroad. China is investing $36 billion USD in preparation of the Olympic Games, the Eurofighter coasts €24 billion, €5.5 billion were required for building the rail track between Cologne and Frankfurt, and 99km of motorway from Gottingen to Halle has a budget of €1.2 billion.

Chairman and CEO of Linde AG said, “The results of this study are a clear signal to us. A transition to the hydrogen economy is feasible.”

2004 “International Hydrogen Day”///Photo courtesy of Linde

The Linde initiative that was unveiled at today’s “International Hydrogen Day” suggested a network of highways circulating through Germany equipped with hydrogen filling stations. It would enable the eco-friendly energy source, which is seen as the energy source of the future, tested in Germany under real conditions.

The highway network proposed would run between Berlin, Leipzig, Munich, Stuttgart and cologne, stretching about 1800 km altogether. Over the next few years, hydrogen-filling pumps would be installed on average about every 50 km. Munich and Berlin already have hydrogen filling stations near the Autobahn, which could be integrated into the project. Although some 35 new filling pumps, both for gaseous and low-temperature liquid hydrogen would have to be built, mainly at existing service stations, in order to create this world’s largest test course for hydrogen-powered vehicles.

The required investment for the hydrogen network would be around €30 million according to Linde’s calculations.

Dr Wolfgang Reitzle said that the initiative would put Germany at the forefront of innovative technology, “ This hydrogen highway is an opportunity to strengthen and reposition Germany as a place for innovation because with it we can take the role of innovator in a key technology,” declared Reitzle. “Engineers have overcome fundamental technical challenges in connection with hydrogen during the past few years. Now we must use this innovative momentum politically as well. We need to give hydrogen the chance to finally prove its suitability as the fuel of the future – unconditionally!”

The great importance of hydrogen worldwide as the fuel of the future is emphasised by the UN organisation United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) under the management of Prof. Klaus Topfer, who has assumed patronage of the “International Hydrogen Day”.

Other high-ranking speakers were present at the event including, Franz-Xaver form the European Commission, Jiro Nagao, from the Ministry of Economics, Technology and Industry, (METI), Japan, Marco Baroni from the International Energy Association (IEA), and Dr. Robert Dixon from the US Department of Energy. Also fellow, Hydrogen advocate, Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, sent a video message.