Daimler, Linde and TOTAL are continuing their joint plans for the expansion of a national hydrogen (H2) infrastructure after the team has opened yet another hydrogen filling station.

After the openings at the Geiselwind motorway service area, the first H2 filling station on the autobahn, and at two locations in Berlin, the partners have now taken another step towards a nationwide supply network for locally emission-free electric vehicles with fuel cells.

At the TOTAL multi-energy filling station in Fellbach, Dr. Veit Steinle, Director-General, Departmental Policy Issues at the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, joined Ministerial Director Helmfried Meinel of the Baden-Wuerttemberg Ministry for the Environment, Climate and Energy, in symbolically refuelling the first vehicle, a Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL. The H2 station in Fellbach is the fifth of its kind in Baden-Wuerttemberg, more are to follow in the months ahead.

Meinel, who heads the State Ministry for the Environment, Climate and Energy, emphasized how important it is to the Baden-Wuerttemberg state government to support the establishment of Germany’s H2 infrastructure. He said, “Hydrogen and fuel cells have great potential to become a key technology for environmentally friendly mobility. They can help us to reduce our dependence on oil imports.”

He added that hydrogen could also play an important role in many other areas, for example, as a temporary storage medium for electricity from renewable energy sources.

“In the past three years, the Environment Ministry has invested a total of €4m promoting Baden-Wuerttemberg’s H2 infrastructure in in the form of hydrogen filling stations and facilities for producing and storing renewable hydrogen through the H2BW innovation programme,” Meinel stated, adding, “To continue encouraging the development of this infrastructure, we have launched another programme called ‘Power to Hydrogen’, with which we are supporting the large-scale production, distribution and use of hydrogen from renewable sources. The state is making a total of €1.4m available for this purpose in 2015 and 2016.”

The Fellbach station features the compact 700-bar fuelling technology from Linde that is ideally suited for retrofitting existing, conventional filling stations. Linde uses its proprietary IC90 ionic compressor, which combines advantages in power consumption, maintenance and noise. With around 100 filling stations set up in 15 countries, Linde is the leader in hydrogen technology. The company operates the world’s first small-series production facility for H2 fuelling stations in Vienna.

The construction of a nationwide hydrogen infrastructure in Germany is accompanied by the planned market ramp-up of fuel-cell cars from various manufacturers. By 2016, an initial strategic stage shall be realised: 50 hydrogen filling stations – built and operated as part of the Clean Energy Partnership (CEP) – will supply Germany’s metropolitan areas and main corridors (www.cleanenergypartnership.de/fileadmin/Assets/ user_upload/50_TS.pdf). As part of this expansion programme, the Daimler-Linde initiative is participating in a total of 20 new H2 stations with a total investment of approximately €20m.