Interview Thomas Freund - Swagelok

Interview Thomas Freund - Swagelok

Swagelok participated with three teams in the German 24 hour Hydrogen Challenge 2020: a country team from Austria, Switzerland and a local team from Swagelok Stuttgart. One of the members of team Switzerland was Thomas Freund, managing director of Swagelok Switzerland.

thomas freund 1Swagelok was present with three teams in the German 24h Hydrogen Challenge, why did you decide to participate?

Swagelok has strong engagement in the Hydrogen infrastructure and vehicle market. With this engagement we are on a mission to help build a Hydrogen economy by providing high quality fluid system products and solutions to the market. The H2 Challenge has been a fantastic opportunity for us to engage with many players in this market and to help prove to the world that Hydrogen Mobility works for everyday use.

What’s the connection between Swagelok and hydrogen?

Swagelok has been supplying products and solutions to industrial Hydrogen applications for many years and is well established as a standard in Hydrogen applications. In transportation related applications we have engaged for many years with our customers on the research and development of systems and solutions. Now that road transportation with Hydrogen is becoming commercially available our engagement with the producers of vehicles and infrastructure has intensified significantly.

What did you experience during this 24 hour rally?

We have been using Hydrogen Vehicles as fleet cars since 2017. We are quite familiar with the use of these vehicles and their capabilities, so there were no surprises for us. The driving range of the vehicles and the functionality of the filling stations has been a positive experience during the rally and it proves once more that Hydrogen vehicles are a well suited technology for long-range driving.

What was your strategy / goal?

Our strategy during the race was to have a lot of fun and get to know more people within the Hydrogen driver community. We had different routes for our 3 vehicles, each focusing on a few local landmarks, and a few of our customer locations. Along the way we also wanted to visit a few of the key players amongst the infrastructure manufacturers. This worked out well and we had many positive and encouraging conversations during our rally stops.

Where have you been?

Our three vehicles had individual routes. Our Swagelok Stuttgart team toured a great part of Germany during these 24 hours. The Swagelok Austria team was restricted to staying in Austria due to COVID related border crossing restrictions. Nevertheless this team toured most of Austria and stopped at many Hydrogen hotspots in Tyrolia, Carinthia, and the greater Vienna Area. The Swagelok Switzerland Team toured all Swiss filling stations, a number of infrastructure manufacturers and in the end drove up to Stuttgart for the finish line.

Can you recommend driving on hydrogen to others? Why?

Driving on Hydrogen is a lot of fun and is environmentally sound, particularly in areas where hydrogen is produced from renewable sources. Hydrogen cars offer all benefits of an electric vehicle, plus the added benefit of long range with the Hydrogen energy storage. I can highly recommend this to everyone who seeks an environmentally friendly alternative for long range driving and heavy-duty applications.

Can you recommend other parties to join this rally next year? And why?

The rally has been a lot of fun for us. The participants are a great community with fantastic comradery. The rally offers a great platform to show the world that driving on Hydrogen works and is suitable for everyday use in areas where filing infrastructure is available.  

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