Hydrogen Innovation and Energy
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Fact check – hydrogen in mobility

Dr. Ralf Petri

Hydrogen - a special atom

To save CO2 emissions and replace fossil fuels, alternatives are desperately sought after. There is a lot of discussion about hydrogen as an energy carrier and the use of fuel cell technology in the mobility sector, among other things. Hydrogen is not only the first element of the universe, but also under discussion as an alternative due to the high gravimetric energy density and the use of renewable energies for various applications in the transport sector. Despite the poorer efficiency compared to battery-electric vehicles, hydrogen has a greater range thanks to its higher storage density. In addition, the sector coupling makes hydrogen versatile with other areas of application in the building, electricity, and heating sectors. Hydrogen can be obtained and transported in various processes such as electrolysis and can be liquefied or stored in compressed form.

Fuel cell technology

In the fuel cell, the chemical reaction of hydrogen and oxygen generates electricity that is used to drive the electric motor. Due to the small volume and the long range, hydrogen or fuel cell technology is used in the modes of transport cars, trucks, trains, ships, and airplanes, with no exhaust gases or noise.

Despite higher conversion losses, the fuel cell offers some advantages in terms of the overall systemic balance of CO2 emissions, range and charging time. The federal government is therefore funding various projects to enable hydrogen to be launched on the market and in June 2020 proclaimed the “National Hydrogen Strategy”. The automotive industry had already presented the first converted hydrogen car in 1978. However, the high production costs and the infrastructure that is still being set up with only a small number of items produced have so far prevented a market launch that is ready for series production. Further information on hydrogen in mobility can be found in the fact check:

Why is the VDE dealing with the topic?

To create a sustainable society, the VDE feels responsible for actively shaping this path. Hydrogen plays an important role. The VDE examines the applicability of the energy source in various studies in a neutral position. In three studies, the topic of alternative drives for diesel multiple units is examined from different angles.

May electronic and electrotechnical components are used in fuel cell vehicles. To ensure the greatest possible safety and quality in applications and the infrastructure, the VDE is committed to the development of norms, rules, and standards in this area. The VDE combines science, standardization, regulation, and product testing under one roof. In the VDE DKE itself there are various working groups and project groups that are composed of interdisciplinary experts to process future requirements in norms and standards. The DKE / K 384, as the national mirror committee for IEC / TC 105, is responsible for the development of standards for fuel cell technologies for all areas of application.

Main authors of the fact check hydrogen in mobility

The fact check was carried out jointly by employees from the DKE Mobility, VDE New Technologies & Services departments, as well as other experts and members of our next generation DKE and VDE Young Net youth organizations. Co-authors from the Next Generation DKE and the VDE Young Net are: Dr. Annette Frederiksen, Carl Giest, Than Ngochi and Batuhan Ayaz.

VDE fact checks mobility

Icon Frage und Antwort
2021-07-09 expert contribution

The VDE fact check mobility is a short, neutral introduction to a topic from the perspectives of various VDE experts to take into account as many points of view as possible. Every fact check begins with a brief definition of the terminology and provides a general introduction to the subject area. In addition to many facts, fact checks also contain further information on areas of application, the current state of research, new products and trends, national and international activities as well as the current state of standardization and standardization projects. 

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