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Newsletter 10, Winter 2018

57th Executive Committee Meeting – Linz, Austria, November 2018

Fuel Cell Electric Buses

Fuel Cell Electric Trucks

Annex 32 and Annex 34 updates

National Updates of Germany, Japan, and U.S.

Fuel Cell News

Join our Work

Special thanks

57th Executive Committee Meeting – Linz, Austria, November 2018

ExCo 57 

The 57th Executive Committee (ExCo) Meeting of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Technology Collaboration Programme on Advanced Fuel Cells (AFC TCP) was held at the Energie AG, Linz, Austria, during November 06-08 2018. 20 participants were present, including 10 ExCo members from Austria, China, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Spain, and the US.

A focus point in this ExCo meeting was on heavy duty transport with presentations on fuel cell electric buses and fuel cell electric trucks (which are further outlined in this newsletter as well).

In cooperation with the HyLAw national workshop, Austrian Energy Agency organized the AFC TCP Outreach Event with the title: Market Readiness of Fuel Cells addressing Austrian stakeholders. AFC TCP delegates from Korea, Germany, U.S., China and Japan gave short reports of their respective countries. In addition, Rolf Huber from H2Energy, Switzerland presented their plans and visions on heavy duty transportation with fuel cells.

  The 58th ExCo Meeting will be held in PyeongChang, South Korea from May 07 – 09, 2019.

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Fuel Cell Electric Buses

Presented by Rajesh Ahluwalia (Argonne National Laboratory, U.S.) and Nancy Garland (Department of Energy, U.S.)

Total hours accumulated on each FCPP as of 9/30/18 The numbers of fuel cell electric buses (FCEB) in U.S. are expected to grow to 71 in 2019 from 33 currently in service. The European FCEB programs have 46 active buses with another 313 planned. The Asian FCEB programs have 400 buses planned with potential for 2000 more per year. The U.S. top fuel cell power plant in 2018 FCEB fleet has exceeded 30,000 h service.
The cost for propulsion system repair is higher for fuel cell buses than CNG, diesel and battery buses. The FC propulsion issues include cooling system leaks, low voltage batteries, and fuel cell balance of plant components.
The 2018 cost of fuel cell systems for FCEBs is projected as 325 $/kWe at low manufacturing volume (200 systems/year) decreasing to less than 100 $/kWe at high manufacturing volume (100,000 systems/year).
Fuel Economy 1st vs. 2nd generation

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Fuel Cell Electric Trucks

Presented by R. Can Samsun, Research Center Juelich, Germany

Based on the recent developments, the 57th Executive Committee Meeting of the IEA Technology Collaboration Programme Advanced Fuel Cells had the focus on fuel cells in heavy-duty transportation.

The motivation for fuel cell electric trucks, such as other zero-emission solutions for heavy-duty transport, can be explained by the high share of trucks in global greenhouse gas emissions despite their low share in vehicle population. In addition, a strong increase in truck activity and greenhouse gas emissions are expected until 2050, with the heaviest trucks being responsible for over 60% of the activity and 75% of the CO2 emissions. [1]

Heavy-duty trucks operating on hydrogen fuel cells have been demonstrated by COOP/Esoro in Switzerland and Asko/Scania in Norway for distribution services. Further truck concepts introduced by Toyota, Kenworth, Transpower and US Hybrid in the U.S. are being used under real conditions for drayage operations.

Apart from the above mentioned demonstration activities in Europe and the U.S., the recent announcements from Nikola Motors and Hyundai with H2 Energy brought a strong momentum to fuel cells in heavy duty transportation. Both activities are planning to bring a huge number of trucks on the market. Electric trucks from Nikola Motors based on a fuel cell / battery hybrid operating with hydrogen fuel offer a range of up to 500-1000 miles and 29.5 t payload capacity [2]. 8000 trucks from Nikola were on order as of July 2018 [3]. The Hyundai truck features a 190 kW fuel cell system and offers 400 km range using eight hydrogen tanks. Starting with 2019, Hyundai Motor and H2 Energy will bring 1000 heavy-duty fuel cell electric trucks to Swiss commercial market over a period of 5 years. The cooperation also includes the provision of an adequate supply chain for renewable hydrogen. [4]

Parallel to the commercial plans for the introduction of fuel cell electric vehicles for heavy-duty transportation, a number of studies analyzing this technology route have been published. Moultak et al. estimate that hydrogen fuel cell based heavy duty freight vehicles will have 5-30% lower costs to own, operate and fuel in comparison to diesel vehicles in 2030 focusing in U.S., Europe and China [1]. Similarly, they estimate a 62-67% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The analysis of Kast et al. revealed that a potential range of 1000 miles can be achieved using multiple tank locations for Class 8 trucks even with the 350 bar technology without penalties in usable volume [5]. In this category, 700-1800 miles range can be achieved using 700 bar storage technology based on the available volume in different vehicle types [5]. Gnann et al. report that the fuel costs dominate the total cost of ownership; therefore fuel cell system efficiency and hydrogen cost are more critical for fuel cell electric trucks than for fuel cell electric vehicles [6].

As in the case of fuel cell electric vehicles, hybridization with batteries lead to an optimal cost and performance. Fast refueling times, high range potentials, zero-emissions using renewable hydrogen and low maintenance costs are further advantages of fuel cell trucks in heavy-duty transport.

[1] M. Moultak et al., ICCT White Paper: Transitioning to Zero-Emission Heavy-Duty Freight Vehicles, 2017
[2] Nikola Motor Company, Access date: 09.10.2018
[3] J. Schneider, US DOE Fuel Cell Truck Powertrain Research and Development Activities and Target Review Workshop, July 2018, Chicago
[4] Press release of H2 Energy, September 19, 2018
[5] J. Kast et al., Research in Transportation Economics, article in press, 2017,
[6] T. Gnann et al., „Brennstoffzellen-Lkw: kritische Entwicklungshemmnisse, Forschungsbedarf und Marktpotential“, Studie im Rahmen der wissenschaftlichen Beratung des BMVI zur Mobilitäts- und Kraftstoffstrategie der Bundesregierung, Fraunhofer ISI, Fraunhofer IML, PTV Transport Consult GmbH, 2017.

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Annex 32: Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

Presented by Jari Kiviaho, VTT Fuel Cells, Finland

Solid Oxide Cells (SOCs) are unique, flexible, and highly efficient energy converters. The underlying work principle is based on electrochemical and catalytic reactions – similar to battery technology – but with the advantage of having, the energy stored in a fuel or a gas outside the actual SOC. This separation of the energy conversion unit from the stored energy allows for cost competitive and large-scale storage and transportation of energy with minimal losses even over large distances. For SOCs, low cost materials are used and the storage capacity is only limited by the size of the storage tanks or gas pipes.

Due to the flexible operation in different modes and the usability of carbon containing gases or fuels, SOCs provide solutions to numerous energy challenges under many different local, geographic, and political conditions. They help to integrate a high degree of energy production from renewable sources such as wind and solar into energy systems, to reduce CO2 emissions, and to reduce the carbon footprint of energy production towards carbon neutral concepts.

Although the local scenarios differ in the regions and countries, the overall trend goes to more energy production from renewable sources, worldwide. Basing energy systems on those fluctuating and only to limited extend predictable sources, requires technologies for balancing, substitution, and storage – in all those segments, SOC technologies can play key roles.

Hydrogen is in a number of countries (such as France, Great Britain, Japan) considered as a major energy carrier of the future and the main solution towards decarbonizing the society and has achieved strong political attention. SOCs can produce hydrogen with unmatched high efficiencies in an electrolysis process. In addition to other electrolysis technologies, only SOCs are able to be operated in both ways, as hydrogen production unit and as electricity producer using hydrogen, in the same cell and stack. This ability provides unique balancing and storing opportunities in combination with wind or solar.

Other concepts involve electricity production through SOFCs using natural gas or biogas, where some regions and countries put a special emphasis on e.g. Netherlands, Japan, Finland, and Denmark. In that way, SOFC can bridge the transition from fossil to fossil-free energy systems. Biogas is a renewable energy source and for example produced in wastewater treatment plants or in landfill locations. Both, in Europe and Asian countries, such biogas sources are vast and not exploited currently. The composition often makes it difficult to employ conventional power production. SOFCs are able to produce electricity with high efficiencies exceeding 60%. While the use of biogas as fuel is still in the development phase, stationary units using natural gas fuel are sold on commercial basis, with a certain governmental support.

The exploitation of the SOC technology for balancing electricity production from renewable sources, to provide means of electricity storage, and to deliver fuels for the transport and chemicals to the industry has gained increasing attention worldwide. While Germany has progressed in many SOC concepts, this power-to-X has probably attracted the most focus from the political side.

European support of SOC research and development under the umbrella of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking has contributed to the advancement of SOC technologies towards the market. The process was significantly supported from the private side with each Euro funded by HORIZON2020 being balanced by three Euro from the industry.

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Annex 34: Fuel Cells for Transportation

Presented by Rajesh Ahluwalia (Argonne National Laboratory, U.S.) and Nancy Garland (Department of Energy, U.S.)

Commercialization of fuel cells (FC) has commenced in all major transportation sectors including light duty vehicles, passenger buses, medium and heavy-duty trucks, and forklifts for material handling but further progress is required to meet the ultimate durability and cost targets.

Sufficient understanding of transient phenomena in fuel cell systems for transportation has been developed to enhance durability by implementing active controls to limit cell voltage during idling, avoid formation of H2-air fronts during subsequent start-up by depleting oxygen, and prevent icing by maximizing in-stack heat production. Recent studies in differential cells indicate that 80-kWe stacks with state-of-the-art alloy catalysts can reach 1180 ± 55 mW/cm² gross power density, exceeding the target of 1000 mW/cm² at low Pt loadings (0.125 mg-Pt/cm² total). The projected fuel cell systems cost is 46.0 ± 0.7 $/kWe at 2.5 atm stack inlet pressure and 95°C stack coolant outlet temperature for high volume manufacturing (500,000 units/year).

A method has been developed to reconstruct electrode microstructure at 1-nm resolution by supplementing nano-computed tomography with data from multiple techniques including transmission electron microscopy, ultra-small angle X-ray scattering and porosimetry. The method provides unique insights into transport phenomena that limit cell performance at high current densities.

Further information:

  • High-throughput synthesis and characterization methods are being used to screen precursors, solvents and heat treatment protocols for enhanced activity of PGM-free (ZnxFe1-x)ZIF-F-derived catalysts for oxygen reduction reaction.
  • State-of-the-art cell materials and durability mitigation strategies have been benchmarked using a battery of advanced characterization techniques. These data and results are publically available.
  • In NREL’s FC electric bus evaluation study, a power plant (FCPP) has exceeded 30,230 h of service, 6 FCPPs have surpassed DOE/DOT ultimate target, and 12 FCPPs have more than 20,000 h.

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National update: Germany

Presented by R. Can Samsun, Research Center Juelich, Germany

Source: René Frampe

Hydrogen and fuel cells are considered as one of the key technologies to realize the Energy Transition (Energiewende) in Germany. The share of renewable energy in gross power consumption reached 36.2% at the end of 2017 [1]. The energy industry being ahead of the targets, even higher shares of renewable energy in the future will require a coupling of the energy sector with other sectors, such as the transport sector. Hydrogen produced via electrolysis using renewable sources can offer an outstanding flexibility for the energy supply in Germany. The continuation of the National Innovation Programme Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology in its second phase (2016-2026) supports the required research and development and addresses the market activation at the same time.    

The number of public hydrogen refueling stations reached 55 as of December 10, 2018; whereas further 4 stations were in planning, 11 in approval, 12 in execution and 12 in trial operation phase [2]. The roadmap aims to reach 100 stations until 2020 to achieve a basic coverage for Germany independent of number of vehicles. Further targets include 400 stations until 2025 to support the market rollout and 1000 stations until 2030 for the commercial rollout, both being dependent on the number of vehicles on the road [3].

In September 2018, Alstom’s hydrogen fuel cell train entered passenger service in Lower Saxony on a nearly 100 km line, offering 1000 km autonomy with one tank and whole day operation [4]. The new plug-in hybrid fuel cell vehicle of Daimler, the GLC F-CELL, is available in the form of a full-service rental basis at 799 Euro/month [5]. StreetScooter GmbH announced that they would introduce a fuel cell model increasing the range of their base battery model (Work L) from 167 km to 500-700 km with a fuel cell range extender [6]. 500 vehicles will be introduced in the fleet of Deutsche Post and further 300 units will be purchased by Westnetz until 2023 [7, 8]. Van Hool (Belgium) received an order to build 40 hydrogen fuel cell buses for the cities of Cologne and Wuppertal. The buses can operate 350 km (full day’s schedule) with 38.2 kg hydrogen tank capacity [9]. Further highlights from the presentation included:

  • FFZ70 project team creating a plug-and-play solution for tugger trains and fuel cells to enable easy retrofitting from batteries to fuel cells. (BMW Group, Linde, Günsel, Fronius, TUM, supported by BMVI and coordinated by NOW GmbH)
  • DLR combining concentrated solar energy (heat) with high temperature electrolyzer (SOE) and achieving stable steam production at 700 °C.
  • Fluorine-free membrane electrode assemblies for PEFCs and water electrolysis developed in the PSUMEA-3 project. (MPI for Solid State Research, ZSW, Hahn-Schickard-Institut, Fumatech, Bosch, Siemens, supported by BMBF)
  • Metal microstructure plates and related production equipment from Graebener Maschinentechnik.
  • The extension of the product portfolio of Siemens with Silyzer 300 electrolyzer with 75% HHV system efficiency and 17.5 MW power consumption based on 24 modules.

[1] UBA, as of 02/2018,
H2 Mobility,
K. Bonnhoff, WHEC 2018, June 2018, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,
Joint press release of Alstom, Ministry of Economy and Transport of Lower Saxony, LNVG and EVB from 09/2018, Bremervörde
ADAC, 2/11/2018,
A. Kampker, 17.
Jahrestreffen des Netzwerks Brennstoffzelle und Wasserstoff, Elektromobilität NRW, November 30, 2017, Düsseldorf
Reuters, 29/09/2018,
Innogy press release 6/7/2018, Essen
Van Hool press release 28/2/2018, Koningshooikt

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National update: Japan

Presented by Eiji Ohira, New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, Japan

To promote the widespread use of hydrogen and become a world-leading hydrogen-based society, the Japanese government formulated its Basic Hydrogen Strategy in December 2017. The strategy describes the future visions for the year 2050 and also serves as an action plan through the year 2030. The strategy sets a goal for Japan to reduce the cost of hydrogen to the same level as those for conventional energy sources.

The “Ene-farm”, fuel cell micro-CHP systems for households, were deployed first in 2009 and up to now 250,000 units have been installed. The prototype version of Ene-farm was developed back in 2000. Since then, various actions for commercialization had been taken for 10 years. One of them is technology development, especially efforts to improve durability and efficiency were promoted. Research activities accompanied by the demonstration of 3,500 units played an important role. OEMs upgraded the technology based on the data secured through the demonstration. OEMs also had a good experience for commercialization such as mass production, maintenance, trouble shooting, etc. Streamlining regulations suitable for Ene-farm was also required. Using available data gathered on safety issues, regulatory bodies and OEMs collaborated to “develop” a regulation. To reduce the cost, the focus was given to balance of plant (BoP). NEDO and OEMs developed a common-specification of BoP and opened this to public.

In December 2014, Toyota Motor Corporation launched the Mirai, and in 2016 Honda Motor Co., Ltd. brought their Clarity Fuel Cell vehicle to the Japanese market. About 2,700 FCVs have been registered in Japan. Japan’s METI and NEDO conducted a FCV/hydrogen refueling station demonstration project, namely the Japan Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Demonstration Project (JHFC) between FY2002 to FY2013. The JHFC project aimed to gather and share fundamental data under actual usage conditions on hydrogen refueling stations, FCV performance, environmental impacts, total energy efficiency, and safety issues to develop a roadmap for the full-scale mass production and widespread use of FCV. METI/NEDO supported to develop a hydrogen infrastructure including streamlining regulations, developing / coordination codes and standards. Japanese government also developed research facility on safety. OEMs provided their own FCVs to the JHFC activity to develop the technology with “real data.”

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National update: U.S.

Presented by Nancy Garland, Department of Energy, U.S.


Over 650 MW of fuel cell power and 70,000 fuel cell units have been shipped worldwide globally. This includes the selling of 240 MW of backup power and over 20,000 fuel cell forklifts.

The overall strategy of the U.S. DoE Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO) has increased emphasis on infrastructure. The Program is target-driven by the status of extant technologies. The total funding from the U.S. Congress for FCTO in 2019 is $120 M with ¼ of the funding going towards fuel cell R&D (around $30 M).

A new initiative has been implemented: H2@ Scale brings together stakeholders to advance affordable hydrogen production, transport, storage, and utilization to increase revenue opportunities in multiple energy sectors. It is a framework in which national laboratories and industry can work together through  government co-funded projects to accelerate the early-stage research, development, and demonstration of applicable hydrogen technologies.

F urther information:

  • Safety handling fuel cells is very important. Safety information is available through – a global resource with more than 250,000 visits, half of which are international.
  • Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Program, managed by the DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy, has gone from developing cell technology and 50 kW units to larger units in the 100s of kW range and plans to develop units in the 10s of MW range in 2020 – 2030.

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Fuel Cell News

  • Requested funding for 164 Fuel Cell Trains in German Innovation Programme Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology up to €200 Million

The German National Innovation Programme Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP) is an interdepartmental programme for research and development funding that has been in place since 2007. The long-term, ten-year programme therefore contributed to the emergence of an internationally competitive industrial sector based on stable framework conditions and funding opportunities in Germany (2007-2016). Now that the launch of fuel cell products is in the early stages and a hydrogen infrastructure for transport is being developed, the NIP needs to be realigned in its second phase. The objective is to make hydrogen and fuel cell technology competitive in the transport sector and the energy market by the middle of the next decade (2016-2026).

O n March 1, 2017 Funding Guidelines for Market Activation Measures were published. The objective of the funding is market activation (as a precursor to market ramp-up) for products that have reached technical market maturity, but are not yet competitive in the market. The lack of competitiveness is due to the fact that production costs are still high and, for many products, the infrastructure for fuel supply and maintenance is still lacking. The focus of the funding, which is provided as an investment subsidy, is therefore not on individual private customers, but on commercial applications with the corresponding quantities.

Up to October 2018 the requested funding for fuel cell trains amounted to €200 Million with up to 164 trains in Germany[1].

[1] T. Herbert, acatech, Themennetzwerk Energie & Ressourcen, Berlin (Germany), October 18, 2018.

  • Nikola Motor unveils fuel cell powered truck for Europe

Nikola Tre

U.S. electric truck maker Nikola Motor unveiled the third version of its fuel cell powered electric semitrailer truck in November for the European market.

The Nikola Tre – Norwegian for three – will be a European zero-emission commercial truck. A prototype will be displayed at the firm´s Nikola World event in Phoenix, Arizona in April 2019.

Nikola plans to test the Tre in 2020 in Norway and build it in Europe in 2022/2023.  The truck is to be offered in various configurations with outputs from 368 to 736 kW. The fuel cell system will have an output of 120 kW. Depending on the configuration Tre will have a range between 500 and 1.200 km.

More information can be found here

  • Linde delivers highly efficient hydrogen fueling technology to double retail hydrogen capacity in California


In a move to ready California for the next generation of fuel cell electric vehicles, Linde is outfitting True Zero’s newest retail hydrogen fueling stations with its highly efficient Cryo Pump 3.0/90.

The move will help to more than double the capacity of the California Hydrogen Network. The customer, True Zero, the retail brand of FirstElement Fuel Inc., currently operates 19 fully retail hydrogen stations throughout the state of California, dedicated to serving light duty fuel cell vehicles.

More information can be found here

Join our work

We welcome new participants to our work in our working groups (Annexes). Experts from our member countries ( may join the work of our Annexes, please contact the following people:

Annex 30: Electrolysis, Dr. Marcelo Carmo:
Annex 31: Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells, Dr Di-Jia (DJ) Liu:
Annex 32: Solid Oxide Fuel Cells, Dr Jari Kiviaho:
Annex 33: Fuel Cells for Stationary Applications, Bengt Ridell:
Annex 34: Fuel Cells for Transportation, Dr Rajesh Ahluwalia:
Annex 35: Fuel Cells for Portable Applications, Dr Fabio Matera:
Annex 36: Systems Analysis, Dr Can Samsun:
Annex 37: Modelling of Fuel Cells Systems, Professor Dr Steven Beale:

If you are from a non-member country, please contact who would be delighted to discuss membership options with you, either on a country basis or on a sponsorship basis. Please visit to see the benefits of joining our work.

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Special thanks

Special thanks to the following companies for their permission to use the pictures in this newsletter: Nikola, Linde, René Frampe. Argonne National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy

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