In Germany, 17 new public refuelling stations started operation in 2018, further consolidating Germany as the country with the second largest public hydrogen refuelling infrastructure globally with 60 public stations, ahead of the USA (42 stations) and only surpassed by Japan (96 public stations).
A total of 48 hydrogen refuelling stations were opened worldwide in the past year. This is the result of the eleventh annual assessment by H2stations.org, a website of Ludwig-Bölkow-Systemtechnik (LBST) and TÜV SÜD.
By end of 2018, there were 60 publicly accessible hydrogen refuelling stations in Germany, which can be accessed and used like conventional fuelling stations. Planning has already started for another 38 dedicated locations of which 34 will be built by the H2Mobility Germany industry initiative. In the past year, Germany has confirmed its place as the country with the second largest hydrogen refuelling infrastructure globally, only surpassed by Japan. Four new sites in the Eastern part of Germany have increased the comprehensive national coverage and the refuelling station density along the increasingly seamless hydrogen corridors from East to West and North to South in Europe.
International extension remains on a steady level in Japan with nine and in California with six hydrogen stations. Also in the Northeast of the USA four stations have been completed and expect commissioning. New international plans towards a concrete near term deployment of additional refuelling stations are particularly noteworthy in the Netherlands (17 planned stations), France (12), Canada (7), South Korea (27), and China (18) with the quoted numbers corresponding only to stations which have at least a designated city. In case of China, current preliminary planning by individual provinces leads to significantly higher numbers. Other than South Korea and Japan, where most stations are built for passenger cars, the initial hydrogen infrastructure in China first targets busses and small delivery trucks.
The past year saw increasing activities particularly in the use of hydrogen as fuel for trucks. In addition to Nikola Motor and Hyundai, Toyota is also working on the development of fuel cell-powered trucks and their refuelling infrastructure in the USA. A dedicated service station has already been commissioned in Southern California. In Europe, a fuel cell truck has been operating in Switzerland since 2016.
The importance of hydrogen for the energy transition is visible in an increasing number of projects: In Northern Germany, three hydrogen refuelling stations are to be supplied by hydrogen generated in nearby wind farms by electrolysis. In Iceland, hydrogen for the new refuelling stations is generated from electricity produced in a geothermal power plant. On the Scottish Orkney Islands, hydrogen is generated by tidal and wind power plants and used, inter alia, for ten fuel vehicles.
According to Ludwig-Bölkow-Systemtechnik, 152 hydrogen stations are currently in operation in Europe, 136 in Asia, 78 in North America. Of the 369 hydrogen stations worldwide, 273 are publicly accessible and can be used like any conventional retail stations. The others are run for closed user groups supplying e.g. buses or fleet customers.