NPROXX believes before we see the mass take-up of hydrogen as a fuel to combat pollution and carbon dioxide emissions for heavy duty vehicles and personal motoring, consumers need to be certain they can fill up their vehicles.
With a new hydrogen station opening roughly every two weeks currently in Germany, the country looks set to achieve its ‘100 hydrogen stations before the end of 2019’ goal.
“Undoubtedly the biggest challenge facing the take up of hydrogen as a fuel will be the provision of convenient refuelling infrastructure,” Michael Ismar, Marketing Manager at NPROXX said.
“Even Germany can only currently sustain a hydrogen supply to major cities and routes. Nevertheless, the situation is changing, and as the impetus to replace fossil fuels, the need for hydrogen infrastructure becomes more pressing.”
H2 View spoke with Ismar to find out more about why NPROXX’s products are at the heart of the rapidly changing world of transport and why Germany is leading the way with regards to hydrogen stations.
Q. NPROXX’s products are at the heart of the rapidly changing world of transport. Tell us why what NPROXX does is so important to this future world of hydrogen-powered mobility?
NPROXX is a global leader in designing, developing and manufacturing Type 4 pressure vessels for the storage of hydrogen under high pressure. We supply an indispensable key element to the globally raising hydrogen industry: the storage systems.
Based on 40 years’ experience in carbon-fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP) products and systems in various industries, NPROXX provides composite tank systems and tailor-made solutions for hydrogen storage applications: transport and storage (up to 1,000 bar), heavy-duty vehicles (350 bar) and automotive (700 bar).
Q. Germany is arguably leading the way in Europe with regards to hydrogen stations. Why do you think this is?
The number of hydrogen refuelling stations in Europe is growing and yes, Germany leads the way with 75 stations operational today.
Hydrogen mobility plays a vital role in this development and the plan is to reach 100 refuelling stations by the end of this year.
In addition, Germany and the EU support a variety of hydrogen projects such as the installation of a refuelling station for hydrogen buses in the Rhineland area to which NPROXX contributes by supplying the hydrogen storage facilities.
Q. What hydrogen-related innovation, application or technology makes you most excited for the future?
There are two very exciting developments. First, the development of onboard hydrogen tank systems for cars, buses, trucks, trains and heavy-duty vehicles. NPROXX is developing these tanks for high pressurised on-board hydrogen storage and we see new clean vehicles entering the markets. We are just at the beginning of a new era of mobility.
Second, there is the hydrogen infrastructure which is required to support this new sustainable mobility. The hydrogen infrastructure has to be extended and more fuelling stations and concepts to be established. NPROXX supplies pressure vessels for both applications, transportation of hydrogen and stationary storage.
“Globally, we see a number of important states go into the same direction as Germany does, such as China, Japan, Korea and California. For that reason, we strongly believe that hydrogen will play an important role for a more sustainable future”
Q. Could you tell us about a recent hydrogen-related project NPROXX has been involved in?
NPROXX is working on an exciting project with Siemens Mobility to develop a hydrogen-powered train. The concept shall deliver a clean and emission-free alternative to diesel-powered trains.
The innovative 26-month project, which began in November 2017, has been split into two phases: phase 1 is a test phase in which the fuel cell that will drive the train is tested in a train-like environment at the RWTH Aachen University. Phase 2 involves developing the hydrogen pressure vessel systems that will store the fuel.
During the first phase the project is looking at responses and performance of the fuel cell in varying operating and environmental conditions.
For NPROXX, the key challenge of phase 2 will be to design and develop the pressure vessels themselves, as well as the accompanying mounting rack and valve frame. Acceleration and vibration are both key issues in railway technology that need to be considered in the design.
Q. What excites you most about the potential for hydrogen use globally?
The use of green hydrogen enables us to implement cleaner, more sustainable solutions for mobility and transport. These solutions deliver healthier urban and rural environments by reducing harmful emissions from passenger and commercial vehicles. By replacing fossil fuels, green hydrogen will also reduce the CO2 emission and helps against climate change.
NPROXX is a leader in this positive development and we are committed to enabling and delivering emission-free energy wherever it can be achieved.
Globally, we see a number of important states go into the same direction as Germany does, such as China, Japan, Korea and California. For that reason, we strongly believe that hydrogen will play an important role for a more sustainable future.