The VDE Group has joined Hydrogen Europe, a non-profit organization with more than 350 members from the field of fuel cell and hydrogen technology. “Joining Hydrogen Europe will help us further leverage our experience in areas such as solar and wind energy to the benefit of the hydrogen industry,” said Burkhard Holder, CEO of VDE Renewables, as the membership agreement was signed at the 2022 Intersolar Europe exhibition in Munich. Manufacturers in this sector must consider not only electrical and functional safety but also performance, installation quality, monitoring and maintenance strategies if they want their products – everything from 2-gigawatt electrolyzers for wind turbines, to vehicle fuel cells, to sensors and safety valves for hydrogen filling stations – to be bankable and insurable. Over the last 15 years, VDE has established an international initiative to develop quality criteria with over 2,000 representatives from banks and insurance companies.
Pre-standards: synchronizing technology and safety
VDE will also be working within Hydrogen Europe to ensure the safety and quality of new products. Developing new standards takes several years due to the set processes and lengthy consultation periods that must be followed. In fast-moving fields like renewable energy or storage technologies, this means that standards and certifications do not reflect the current state of the art and are overtaken by new developments. To solve this problem, VDE will therefore develop pre-standards – supplementary criteria based on existing standards. “This is how we can synchronize the latest technical design in hydrogen systems with safety aspects,” said Holder. Manufacturers can then sell their products with a quality seal indicating that they have been independently tested by VDE.
Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, CEO of Hydrogen Europe, is excited about the new opportunities: “We are delighted by VDE’s decision to join and by the expertise that VDE Renewables will be bringing aboard. We will now be able to even more systematically address the issues facing our member companies.” VDE sees great potential for hydrogen to expand the use of renewable energy. The gas is an excellent storage medium, allowing use of renewables to be decoupled from production in terms of time and location. In the context of sector coupling, this will have a positive impact on the whole energy sector and especially on grid stability.