As readers of H2 View know so well, hydrogen mobility is growing rapidly and especially so in countries like Germany and South Korea which have committed to invest in a hydrogen fuelling station infrastructure.
As with any growth market, there is space for new entrants. Resato International, based in Assen in the Netherlands, has been one of these new entrants in recent years.
A company that has an established position in ultra-high pressure technologies, its traditional markets are waterjet cutting machines for a wide range of materials including steel or ceramics and high pressure test systems. It’s this pedigree that Resato International is bringing to the adjacent space of high pressure hydrogen fuelling stations, as H2 View discovered in an exclusive interview with Aileen Meyer,Area Sales Manager for Hydrogen.
Aileen, thanks for your time. I believe you are based in Germany. How do you fit into Resato’s European ambitions?
Yes, I’m located in north west Germany and the main Resato offices and factory are just across the border from here in the Netherlands. My role is to bring our products into the German market, where the construction of public and private hydrogen fuelling stations is rapidly advancing.
So, how did you arrive in the world of hydrogen mobility?
Well it all happened faster than I could keep up with – a bit like the broader story around the rapid development of the hydrogen economy just now. One day I was studying languages and international business, then I began a hydrogen market study as the final part of my university programme and before I knew it, I was working with Resato.
After a few months as a trainee, I jumped in at the deep end to take responsibility for Resato’s hydrogen filling station sales in the German market.
You make it sound like an easy journey into the world of hydrogen mobility. Do you think that there is room for others to follow?
Yes, for sure. Hydrogen has a special aura; it is enjoying tremendous attention and presents many growth opportunities. But the skills that people need to work here are just like any other emerging technology. For example, an entrepreneurial spirit, market insight, cross-functional communication skills, creativity and vision. And of course, a high degree of technical competence is required to underpin some of the production and research roles. I don’t have that kind of background myself, but we’re a team and each of us offers our talents to the collective success.
Thinking back to the early days, when did Resato get into hydrogen and how far have you come?
We began to work on hydrogen fuelling stations in 2016. The company simply wanted room to grow and this diversification into the high-growth field of hydrogen mobility seemed to make sense. Since then we have developed two ranges of filling stations. A larger one, designed for public use, and a smaller fleet-owner station (FOS). One of our public stations will open in The Hague in the coming weeks. For the FOS range, we have installed several already and more will be built this year.
What about Germany, have you made inroads there?
I am pleased to say that we have. Our first FOS will start up this summer and a public station will follow in 2021. That may seem like a long time away but there is approximately a one-year lead time to produce the bigger public filling stations due to the complex supply chain for the components, their highly technical nature and the amount of testing that is required to ensure their safe operation.
However, the filling station production lead time is generally not an issue for the operator of these public systems because the local permitting process can also be quite complex and time consuming. For the smaller fleet owner systems, we can turn them around much faster and our goal is to reduce the lead time on the larger systems also.
Permitting sounds like it might be challenging. How does this change when you are working across borders?
The vehicle filling protocols are broadly harmonised internationally according to standards laid down by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). On the other hand, regulatory authorities will want to examine local aspects of an installation such as noise levels, fencing, security, safe separation distances and the avoidance of enclosed spaces. The issues here differ from country to country and even within each country there are regional requirements. To navigate this process, we provide our customers with all the required documentation and can also involve qualified consultants who are able to support the permitting process.
Can your fuelling stations run on green hydrogen?
Absolutely they can. The system is quite flexible in that way. It can be fed with hydrogen from high pressure gas cylinders, or bottles as some people say, which are readily available from many industrial gas suppliers or it can be coupled to an electrolyser.
Whether the hydrogen in the gas cylinder is green or not, and whether the electrolyser runs on green power or not is really a decision for the operator. Our system will work equally well in all cases.