Daimler & Linde Driving the Hydrogen Future

Daimler (as in Mercedes) and The Linde Group (as in a supplier of gases, generally in the “industrial” category) have announced that they are working together to help develop the infrastructure required for fueling hydrogen-powered vehicles.

Daimler (as in Mercedes) and The Linde Group (as in a supplier of gases, generally in the “industrial” category) have announced that they are working together to help develop the infrastructure required for fueling hydrogen-powered vehicles.

Over the next three years the companies will build 20 hydrogen filling station in Germany, including sites in Stuttgart, Berlin, Hamburg, and along both north-south and east-west axes. They say that the investment is on the order of “tens of millions” of euros, so while 20 may not seem like a large number, these activities, coupled with the H2 Mobility and Clean Energy Partnership projects in Germany, are said to be such that Germany is “at the international forefront of hydrogen infrastructure development.”

What’s notable about the Daimler/Linde initiative is that they’re going to be installing the hydrogen pumps at existing gas stations operated by various petroleum companies. This provides a built-in familiarity, and also takes advantage of the proverbial bricks and mortar that are already in place.

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On June 1, Mercedes brought the “Mercedes-Benz F-CELL World Drive” to its conclusion: the event started on January 30, and as its name indicates, three fuel-celled powered vehicles, based on the Mercedes B-Class, racked up more than 30,000 kilometers, traveling through four continents.

The cars were back at the start-finish line on schedule.

Here’s an interesting point: They’ve determined that there are only about 200 hydrogen fuel stations worldwide. Needless to say, a mobile fueling unit was developed in cooperation with Linde to keep the cars moving.

And Daimler and Linde cite experts that maintain in Germany a network of 1,000 fixed fuel stations would be necessary for “basic nationwide coverage”—but that would be predicated on some number of hydrogen-fueled vehicles that is far greater than that existing in Germany and everywhere else in the world, for that matter.

At the end of the drive, Dr. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the Board of Management and head of Mercedes-Benz cars, stated, “With the F-CELL World Drive we have shown that the time for electric vehicles with fuel cells has come. Now the development of the infrastructure has to pick up speed.”

(The B-Class F-CELL, incidentally, has three hydrogen storage tanks. The tanks hold the fuel at 700 bar. Each tank holds about 4 kg of hydrogen. That gives the car, which is powered by an electric drive motor that has a peak output of 100 kW, a range of up to 400 km. Refueling can be accomplished in under three minutes via a standardized refueling system.)