Dats 24, a Colruyt Group energy and fuel provider, has erected a hydrogen filling station for automobiles and trucks on Boomsesteenweg in Wilrijk. In Belgium, there will be eight hydrogen filling stations before the end of the year.
Green hydrogen refueling (which originates from ecologically acceptable energy sources and so emits no CO2) was already feasible in Antwerp’s port. CMB, a shipping firm, has a petrol station in the area. In Halle and Zaventem, hydrogen fueling stations were also available. So now there’s a fourth, and it’s on a busy traffic artery: Wilrijk’s Boomsesteenweg along the A12.
However, unlike completely electric automobiles, which accounted for 6% of newly registered vehicles in Belgium last year and generate no pollution, hydrogen is a strange occurrence on our roads. Last year, there were 52 hydrogen-powered automobiles on the road in the United States. That’s 0 percent rounded up.
Despite this, hydrogen filling stations are springing up everywhere like mushrooms these days. Because, in addition to the Wilrijk station that is already operational, Dats 24 plans to install hydrogen filling stations in Haasrode, Erpe-Mere, Ollignies, and Herve before the end of the year.
Dats 24 is currently focusing on persuading businesses to operate part of their wage vehicles on hydrogen. Vosselaar’s Adwin Martens should no longer be persuaded. He is one of the few people in Belgium that drives a hydrogen automobile today. De Kempenaar is the director of Waterstofnet, a non-profit that assists businesses in developing hydrogen-related initiatives. “I love driving in my Hyundai Nexo because it’s so comfortable and blocks out practically all outside noise,” Adwin adds.
“Waterstofnet’s headquarters are located in Turnhout. I used to have to travel to the Netherlands to get hydrogen, but now I just drive back and forth to Antwerp. People who are not professionally connected with hydrogen will not instantly take this detour. However, I believe that there will be a significant increase in the number of hydrogen filling stations. By the end of the year, there will be eight. If we have twenty-five in Belgium, it may be sufficient to allow us to go on the track with confidence.”
The cost of a hydrogen automobile ranges from 65,000 to 75,000 euros.
However, this rationale overlooks a significant factor: the exorbitant cost of hydrogen vehicles. The Toyota Mirai has a price tag of around 65,000 euros. The Nexo, which is being manufactured by Hyundai, will set you back 75,000 euros. Nonetheless, Adwin Martens believes that in the next years, hydrogen will make a breakthrough in Belgium. “I paid 75,000 euros for my hydrogen automobile. “I would have paid 150,000 euros for this eight years ago,” he adds.
“Prices are rapidly decreasing. In the future years, I expect many more automobiles to operate on hydrogen, bringing the price down to roughly 40,000 euros,” Adwin predicts. “In their adult life, today’s youngsters will find it quite natural that automobiles operate on hydrogen.” Just like you had diesel and gasoline up until now, you will have hydrogen and electricity in a few years.”