It is an inevitable must for the Dutch government to rapidly start adjusting the system architecture alongside the Dutch motorways. Necessary choices need to be made if the Netherlands wishes to keep benefiting from the fast technological developments in the automotive industry. “The moment that the use of hydrogen technology will become a commodity instead of the regular use of gasoline, is getting closer and closer,” says Guido Gerritsen CEO of APM (Automotive Parts Manufacturing) in Haaksbergen (NL). “We need to look ahead and anticipate.”
“Nowadays technological developments should motivate us to build a better system architecture. If we neglect this challenge, this country with its densed traffic, might lose economic power. We cannot afford this attitude. If politics will not increase the speed in creating vision for the future, as for creating the framework from a legal point of view, this may bring us – as a country and as an industry – severe financial and economic damage.”
Developments in the industry
Car manufacturer TOYOTA and DIFFER (Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research) are in the middle of developing a system that absorbs water vapor and uses solar energy to subesequently split into hydrogen and oxygen. One of the largest automotive suppliers in the world, Robert Bosch in Germany, has comparable ambitions as well. The Germans recently started a big collaboration with Powercell from Sweden. It is their joint ambition to further develop the fuel cell they have already introduced in the market. By the year 2023 Shell – last but not least – intends to reconstruct more than 400 gasoline stations in Germany by adding facilities for hydrogen technology.
So, the Netherlands should not remain in a modest position. Above all Guido Gerritsen fears complicated budget challenges for the nation. “It may be clear that revenues from gasoline taxes will diminish if new technologies will be accepted and adopted widely. So, from that point of view we need a new system as well.”
“The granting system of all relevant licenses, will have to be adjusted too,” Guido Gerritsen continues. “It goes without saying that the increasing need of more hydrogen stations shouldn’t face any problems. After all, entrepreneurs and owners of those stations, also need healthy space for realizing their own commercial ambitions. Possible delay might be devastating.”
Guido Gerritsen also recognizes great opportunities for the small companies in the automotive industry. “These technological developments – initiated by world market leaders – have a major impact on many business cases. More than ever before, we therefore need to find new collaborations as a guarantee for innovative vision and power.”