GP JOULE is not waiting but getting started: first hydrogen-powered car is approved for road use in North Frisia

From now on GP JOULE will be running on hydrogen: CEO Ove Petersen (right) and André Steinau (left), responsible for the company’s hydrogen projects, inaugurate the brand-new hydrogen-powered Hyundai Nexo at GP JOULE’s headquarters in Reußenköge – precisely where the company has long been producing green hydrogen from renewable energy sources using its own PEM electrolyser.

Reußenköge – As an initiator of the North Frisia hydrogen mobility project eFarm, GP JOULE produces green hydrogen from renewable energy sources. This is now being used to power the first of five fuel-cell cars in the company’s fleet.

It is the dawning of a new era: today, a brand-new hydrogen-powered Hyundai Nexo was supplied to the GP JOULE company fleet – the first of five such vehicles to be acquired for the company by André Steinau, management assistant at GP JOULE and responsible for the North Frisian company’s hydrogen projects. Along with the fleet's approximately 60 battery-powered electric cars, this underscores the Schleswig-Holstein-based innovation company’s aspiration to make environment-friendly and climate-friendly mobility accessible to everyone. What is particularly interesting here is that the hydrogen that will power the fuel-cell cars, buses and lorries in future will come from renewable electric current produced in the region. 

The project eFarm is an impressive example of how to establish a complete value chain – from the decentralised generation of green power, its conversion into green hydrogen on site using the waste heat dissipated in the process, and the subsequent provision of green fuel for mobility: with its comprehensive hydrogen infrastructure, it is the biggest model project for green hydrogen mobility in Germany. From the production of hydrogen out of wind power using PEM electrolysers developed and manufactured in Schleswig-Holstein through to climate-friendly fleet usage with zero emissions and exhaust gases – GP JOULE has created the basis for developing entirely new, sustainable value chains using locally produced energy. “By establishing a hydrogen infrastructure and acquiring fuel-cell cars, we are sending out a clear signal: in Schleswig-Holstein, GP JOULE is already setting the course for the mobility of the future,” says Ove Petersen, co-founder and Managing Director of GP JOULE, explaining the company’s strategy.

The Hyundai Nexo is the first of five vehicles to be initially used by the company, powered by hydrogen generated from regionally produced renewable energy sources with the help of the eFarm project – which also involves the construction two public hydrogen filling stations in Husum and Niebüll. In addition to being climate-friendly and environment-friendly, the fuel-cell cars are impressive from the point of view of practical usage and cost, too: with a range of over 600 km for a full tank costing some EUR 50 and a constantly growing infrastructure of hydrogen filling stations, they are the perfect substitute for vehicles that run on fossil fuels. “Hydrogen is the energy source of the future for numerous forms of mobility and applications. It is the interface between climate-neutral power generation and green mobility. Our aim is to produce low-cost hydrogen from wind energy, thereby helping to put an end to the age of fossil fuels in mobility,” explains Ove Petersen. He points out that this applies to private cars just as it does to buses, lorries and in particular rail vehicles.

Even though battery-powered cars are frequently the best alternative to the classic combustion vehicles of the past, especially over short distances in urban areas and for drivers whose vehicles are left standing for lengthier periods of time, the use of green hydrogen is a clear step towards the networked future of green mobility – especially in a region that is rich in wind power such as North Frisia.

“By integrating fuel-cell cars in our fleet, our aim is to show private individuals and businesses that green mobility from local electric power is simple, economical and environment-friendly. Using hydrogen-powered cars in our own company fleet underscores the importance of the eFarm project, demonstrating how simple it is to switch to climate-friendly mobility without any limitation whatsoever – especially in rural areas with longer travel times and distances,” says Ove Petersen.

More and more companies are now beginning to see the potential of hydrogen-powered vehicles, as is the German government itself. The latter now supports the purchasing of hydrogen-powered vehicles by both private and business customers. In future, the eFarm project will initially be running two local scheduled public bus services in North Frisia powered by green hydrogen; the buses will get their green, locally produced fuel at the two filling stations in Husum and Niebüll. In this way, North Frisia will become a pioneer in the production of green energy and its conversion into affordable climate-friendly mobility. Numerous companies in the region have already indicated that they likewise plan to purchase hydrogen-powered cars in view of the expansion of the filling station infrastructure for fuel-cell vehicles in North Frisia and throughout Schleswig-Holstein – also given the lower operating costs as compared to cars and buses that run on fossil fuels.

This is further motivation for GP JOULE to continue to dedicate its efforts to pushing ahead with this development for Schleswig-Holstein as a matter of conviction – and André Steinau can’t wait to hear what his sons will have to say to the car of the future.

Image rights: GP JOULE

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About  GP JOULE:
Founded in 2009 based on the belief that a 100% renewable energy supply is feasible, GP JOULE is now a system provider for integrated energy solutions from solar, wind and biomass power as well as being a partner at the supply level for heat as well as hydrogen and electromobility. A pioneer in the area of sectoral cross-linkage, the medium-sized corporation has a workforce of over 200 employees in Germany and North America.