In her keynote speech Dr. Joan Ogden of UC Davies in California at the opening of the European Hydrogen Energy Conference in Seville on March 12, 2014, sketched an interesting picture of the path to break-even of the first refuelling stations in the US. Over 300 participants listened to key note speeches that covered the latest market studies on infrastructure planning. According to Dr. Ogden  each owner of the 78 stations foreseen until 2017 will need to invest between 400 -700 K  to break even in 2017 (So. Cal Ogden Nicholas 2013).   Most of the petrol stations in the US are owned by private operators. This cost perspective for the first US stations will amount to approx. $100 mln. for around  100 stations to serve  34000 cars. She also mentioned that the boom in cheap shale gas and oil exploration in the US is helping the hydrogen infrastructure efforts as costs are coming down for hydrogen production through steam reforming as well.

Steffen Moller Holst of SINTEF and chairman of the FCH JU, NENERGY research grouping, presented the plans for Norway that foresees 60% FCEV coverage of Norway’s vehicle fleet by 2050 that will cost € 1,5 bln: one expensive bottle of wine per year per person…Only 5% of the cost of the vehicles, around € 1000 -2000 per vehicle,  is needed for hydrogen infrastructure. SINTEF predicts a cost of 3-5 per kg by 2025. Other national targets that were mentioned :
– Denmark by 2020 -2015 around 185 stations are planned starting with 15 stations by 2015.
– UK would have national coverage by 2030.
– Spain to date  has 350 bar stations in Huesca, Castilla La Mancha and Seville as well as in HyER member state Aragon in Zaragoza.Outside Europe activities in Korea, this year’s World Hydrogen Energy Conference  location,  is planning 168 station in 2020 for 100.000 cars with a 70% cost subsidy towards 2017.  In Germany 7  of the 20 power to gas projects are already linked to public refuelling stations.

General Motors Lars Peter Thiesen presented his company’s view of the use of electric power trains for future transport. Battery cars will remain a niche market. Over the last 7 years GM supported the Clean Energy Partnership in Germany, experimenting with local dealer servicing the FCEV. Drivers experiences of the GM HydroGen4 cars was more positive than expected. Jörg Wind of Daimler referred to the significant reduction in the fuel cell packaging in the Daimler F-Cell cars of 30%. He indicated the key technical challenges that they are experiences with the 12V batteries apart from more FC and H2 related challenges regarding power densities, cooling systems and hydrogen storage as well as hydrogen infrastructure build up.

The first day also saw a session on hydrogen infrastructure planning that covered detailed studies done by the University of Castilla La Mancha and Abengoa as well as for Norway. The EHA who supported the Spanish Hydrogen Association in organizing the EHEC,  salutes their Spanish member  with the successful organisation demonstrating the role of associations in bringing together national and local stakeholders in research and industry to carry the deployment further.