11-11-09 H2 Skane

H2 Skåne: Creating Fertile Ground for Fuel Cells and Hydrogen

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09 Nov 2011PDF (560 kb)

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11-11-09 H2 Skane

Recently I was lucky enough to attend the fourth Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Nordic Countries conference, which was held in the Swedish city of Malmö and hosted by Hydrogen Sweden. For me, it was an excellent opportunity to hear about the latest developments in the five Nordic countries and to see their unique, cross-border collaboration in action. (My report on the event will be published shortly in Fuel Cell Today’s ‘Analysis’ section, so look out for it.)

The choice of Malmö as the venue was not random – in fact the city has for some time wanted to host the conference and show its support for fuel cells and hydrogen. Welcoming the delegates at the conference dinner in the beautiful sixteenth-century Malmö City Hall, mayor Kent Andersson applauded the efforts and cooperation of those present. The Scandinavian Hydrogen Highway Partnership had arranged for a Hyundai ix35 fuel cell SUV to convey the mayor and his wife to the city hall, and Mr Andersson commented that on passing his one-year-old, ethanol-fuelled car on the drive he realised it was already ‘history’, and he was driving into the future.

Malmö, in the south of Sweden and connected to Copenhagen by the impressive Öresund bridge, is a city that is reinventing itself. Previously heavily industrial, it has for the past fifteen years aimed to be a leader in sustainability and ‘green’ growth; its former shipyards are undergoing redevelopment to mixed commercial and residential use, with cutting-edge technology being used to implement sustainable practices in every aspect from waste to water. Malmö is also the capital of Skåne County, which has ambitious targets for cutting carbon emissions and acting on climate change. This makes the city an ideal test-bed for new technology such as fuel cells and hydrogen.

In recognition of this, a project has recently been launched to develop a market for hydrogen and associated technology in Skåne. Known as ‘H2 Skåne’, it benefits from EU funding for regional development and is a collaborative effort between Hydrogen Sweden, the communities of Malmö and Skåne, the Skåne Energy Agency, local firms Catator and Hulteberg Hydrogen Solutions, and the energy companies E.ON and Lunds Energi. It is coordinated by Anna Alexandersson, who is tasked with combining the goals of all the various members into a unified aim.

H2 Skåne focuses on influencing decision makers at the level of local government, an approach that is already bearing fruit. Although Malmö and Skåne were chosen due to their existing interest in clean energy, Hydrogen Sweden is using the project as a pilot for this municipal-level approach which, once proven, can be rolled out to other Swedish regions and cities.

A major highlight is Malmö’s involvement in the Next Move project, along with Copenhagen and Oslo. The three cities will present a joint front and use a public procurement process to secure offers from fuel cell vehicle OEMs. Each city will then choose and test the model or models that suit its requirements best. In this way, each country can benefit from sharing the cost and effort of procurement and the combined feedback of a range of early users of the technology.

The project includes a mobile refuelling station, but Malmö does have an existing hydrogen station. This dates from 2003 and produces hydrogen on-site by electrolysis of water, powered by wind energy.

H2 Skåne is also planning a demonstration of fuel cells for residential heat and power (micro-CHP). Skåne does not have an end-user market for this technology, since very few Swedish homes use gas-fired heating, but it intends to export the technology to other countries, and will establish a local supply chain using components from resident manufacturers such as Catator.  There is a clear recognition here of the economic benefits of being first-to-market with new technology.

Malmö and Skåne are joining an increasing number of communities around the world which are taking progress into their own hands. When local authorities understand the potential of fuel cell and hydrogen technology to deliver economic growth, genuine progress in demonstration and implementation is achieved – even in the absence of national directives.

For more information on H2 Skåne see www.h2skane.se or contact Anna at anna@h2skane.se

Margery Ryan     Market Analyst



Image: Hyundai ix35 fuel cell SUV with Malmö’s famous Turning Torso in the background (Source: City of Malmö/Peter Adamsson)


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