Clean transport with hydrogen
TÜV SÜD reviews safety concept of the first solar hydrogen filling station in Freiburg.
20 filling stations with hydrogen pumps exist in Germany. For the first time, the electricity needed for hydrogen electrolysis is now produced by photovoltaic modules in Freiburg. This pilot project could be an important building block and a landmark in the green energy revolution. TÜV SÜD supported the safety aspects of the project – from the design stage to inspection prior to placing into service. "The hydrogen filling station in Freiburg is a reference project for further expansion of the network of hydrogen filling stations", says Tom Elliger, Head of the Hydrogen Technology department at TÜV SÜD Industrie Service in Munich.
Offering a method of zero-carbon transport, hydrogen is a suitable replacement for fossil fuels such as petrol or diesel. The combustible gas with high energy content per unit mass can be produced from water by electrolysis. In the vehicle, a fuel cell converts the gas into electrical energy, which then drives the electric motor. The time needed for refilling is a special feature of hydrogen. Compared to the hours taken to recharge the battery of electric cars, refuelling with hydrogen is extremely rapid. The car can be back on the road in less than three minutes.
Clean and safe technology
The combination of an H2 filling station and photovoltaic modules means that the hydrogen vehicles can be operated with green and clean energy. In the pilot project in Freiburg, part of the energy needed to produce and store the hydrogen is supplied by the photovoltaic modules installed on the roofs of the refuelling station and adjacent buildings. In the future, excess power resulting from production peaks could be converted into hydrogen to fuel hydrogen vehicles.
"TÜV SÜD is working worldwide to ensure that innovative hydrogen technologies can be delivered safely into the hands of clients", explains Tom Elliger. "We support manufacturers, owners and approval authorities in Freiburg, throughout Europe and as far away as Japan in developing and designing safe and reliable systems and drawing up suitable codes and standards." In long-term projects to which TÜV SÜD contributed support over safety issues, the engineers were able to convince themselves of the safety of hydrogen filling stations.
In Freiburg TÜV SÜD tested the entire safety plans for the hydrogen refuelling station. The test scope also included inspection before placing into service in accordance with Art. 14 of the German Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance including the hydrogen tanks and the filling systems. In addition, we carried out the required tests of explosion protection.