Given the rapid pace of development in the fuel cell and hydrogen sectors it’s worth taking a quick look back at the major developments so far for 2012. This is not designed to be an exhaustive list but to provide some snapshots of interest.
Some key highlights, as of February 1:
- 932 kilowatts (kW) of new fuel cell installations, from the stationary, transport and portable sectors
- New orders have totalled a whopping 54,034 kW of fuel cell power
- Orders and installations of polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells totalling 53.9 megawatts (MW), solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) 500 kW, phosphoric acid fuel cells (PAFC) 400 kW and alkaline fuel cells (AFC) less than 50kW
- Fuel cell stacks from Canada dominated shipments, but in fuel cell systems the United States dominated
- The most northerly hydrogen refuelling stations, from H2 Logic, opened above the Arctic circle
- UKH2Mobility grabbed the most headlines (in Europe at least)
In terms of government intervention, three pieces of critical policy and/or legislation made headlines in January. First, China announced that it would remove all sales tax from locally manufactured battery EVs and fuel cell EVs. This move effectively cuts the price of the vehicles by 9%. The Chinese government is also offering a further subsidy for adoption, again for locally produced vehicles only, of $19,000. Foreign-produced vehicles are expected to face a 25% import duty.
Also, the California Air Resources Board passed the revised version of the state’s Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate. The 2012 version of the ZEV mandate covers car and light duty truck model years 2017 to 2025 and, if kept in place, should see ZEVs or plug-in hybrid vehicles accounting for 1 in 7 of new cars sold in California by 2025. To put it another way, more than 1.4 million ZEV and plug-in hybrid vehicles will be on the road in California by 2025.
Finally, in Japan the eco-car tax reduction will be continued throughout 2012 for fuel cell vehicles, BEVs and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The cars will also continue to be exempt from the so-called weight tax and acquisition tax.
Looking ahead, we have already seen news of the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) for micro combined heat and power (mCHP) being raised in the UK; the largest PEM power plant in the world up and running; and the announcement of a 1MW hydrogen storage product launch during the Hannover Fair in April.