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Germany's Hydrogen Fueling Station: A Blueprint for North America's Future

14 Sept 2023

During a recent visit to Germany, North American automotive and trucking journalists witnessed the inauguration of Bavaria's largest hydrogen truck and bus filling station. This groundbreaking station could serve as a template for the first-of-its-kind stations in North America.

A Model for Hydrogen Infrastructure

With over 100 project partners and attendees, the event marked the launch of this Linde-built hydrogen fueling station in Hofolding, Germany. The station is designed to refuel up to 10 municipal buses and trucks, boasting a daily capacity of up to 300 kg of hydrogen at 350 bar pressure.

One notable feature of this station is the innovative swap-body concept, allowing for swift replenishment by exchanging the trailer housing the hydrogen tank. Each trailer can deliver a substantial 1,250 kg of hydrogen, sufficient to fuel at least 25 trucks and buses. Solaris buses, set to be the initial users of the station, are expected to achieve an impressive range of approximately 350 km from each refueling.

Thomas Zorn, Managing Director of hydrogen supplier Tyczka Hydrogen, highlighted the regular swapping of trailers, occurring every one to two weeks. The ambitious project took nearly two years to come to fruition.

Diverse Usage and Public Accessibility

Christoph Gobel, District Administrator for the Munich County District, anticipates that the station will primarily serve trash and winter service trucks. However, the station is open to the public as well as municipal fleets, aligning with its government funding requirement to be accessible to all. Gobel emphasized public interest in utilizing the station.

Electrolyzers and the "Energiewende"

Dr. Tobias Brunner, Managing Director of Hynergy, underscored the significance of electrolyzers in the "energiewende," the German term for energy transition. Electrolyzers not only produce hydrogen but also yield valuable byproducts like heat and oxygen. The cost of hydrogen production varies globally, with Tibet standing out as the most economical region due to its consistent supply of wind and solar energy.

Hydrogen's role in decarbonizing transportation is undeniable, with Brunner stating that without green hydrogen, a significant delay of 20-25 years in decarbonization could occur. Commercial vehicle transportation is expected to lead the way in embracing hydrogen, as the high volume of hydrogen throughput justifies the construction of stations serving both trucks and passenger vehicles, albeit at varying dispensing pressures.

As hydrogen continues to gain traction, projects like Bavaria's hydrogen fueling station are paving the way for a greener, more sustainable future in transportation.

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