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European-made hydrogen fuelling stations taking over US markets

EU citizens may not have noticed yet, but hydrogen fuelling stations are appearing across Europe – and the rest of the world for that matter – at an increasing pace. Now, a new technology known as H2Station is promising to turn this momentum into a worldwide landslide.

Transport and Mobility

Since it was granted EU support in 2015 under the HYFAST project, H2Station has grown from a groundbreaking prototype to a mature product ready for production lines. This success can partly be attributed to a supplier base including 73 companies from 10 countries, but it is first and foremost due to the technology itself: a new generation hydrogen fast-fuelling station with three times the production capacity of its predecessor CAR-100 and a footprint reduced by 66 %. As Mikael Sloth, Vice-President of Business Development at NEL Hydrogen and HYFAST coordinator puts it: ‘H2Station is the first hydrogen fuelling station to be designed as a standard product ready for high volume manufacturing. This is important for ensuring high performance and quality of the equipment, as well as for achieving sufficient manufacturing scale of the same standard product, which in turn will allow for a reduction of equipment costs.’ H2Station was originally developed by Danish manufacturer H2 Logic, which was acquired by NEL in 2015. Its fuelling solution includes supply and fuelling storage, a supply cabinet, a station module, as well as dispensers for cars, busses, tricks and forklifts. Thanks to EU funding to the tune of EUR 2 million, the company could achieve a standardised product that is suitable for volume manufacturing. Its new, EUR 10 million factory – the world’s largest of its kind – can produce up to 300 stations per year, enough to fuel 200 000 new vehicles every year. Another project objective consisted in increasing European exports of hydrogen fuelling technology to the United States, and there again HYFAST was a blatant success. ‘NEL has won over 45 % of all new orders for hydrogen fuelling stations in California in 2017. We are currently delivering a network of hydrogen fuelling stations for Shell in San Francisco, as well as building the largest hydrogen fuelling station in the world in Southern California, for the fuelling of busses,’ Sloth enthuses. In Europe, where the business case for hydrogen fuelling stations is slightly better than in the US – mainly because gasoline is more expensive – hydrogen stations are being deployed in the likes of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Germany, France, the Netherlands and the UK. As electricity is cheaper here compared to the US, hydrogen can be produced from renewable electricity, and can even be sold at a higher price where they compete with gasoline. Last but not least, the system is seducing consumers for its simplicity: ‘The fuelling process is very similar to gasoline,’ Sloth explains. ‘It is conducted from a dispenser that can be co-located next to gasoline. You activate the dispenser, for example by credit card, connect the fuelling nozzle to the vehicle and start the fuelling. After 3-5 minutes you will have full tank, sufficient for more than 500km of driving.’ Since the project came to an end, NEL Hydrogen has been focusing its efforts on product maturity and improving routines at manufacturing facilities. It’s well worth the effort: by 2050, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are expected to become the fastest growing segment of the global automotive market.


HYFAST, NEL Hydrogen, hydrogen, fuelling, H2Station, automotive

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