The ORLEN Group has launched HYDROGEN EAGLE, an investment initiative aimed at establishing an international network of hydrogen hubs powered by renewable energy sources and constructing innovative facilities for the conversion of municipal trash to zero-and low-emission hydrogen.

Additionally, the proposal calls for the development of over 100 hydrogen refueling stations for private, public, and commercial vehicles.

By 2030, the system, which spans Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, will enable ORLEN Group to produce roughly 50,000 tonnes of hydrogen annually. The proposal calls for the development of six additional RES-powered hydrogen hubs: two in Poland, two in the Czech Republic, and one in Slovakia, as well as plans for the construction of a hydrogen electrolysis plant powered by energy generated by the Baltic Power offshore wind farm.

The capacity of the electrolysis facilities powered by RES will eventually reach roughly 250 MW. Additionally, the program envisions the development of three unique waste-to-hydrogen plants in Poland and the Czech Republic, as well as an international network of more than 100 hydrogen refueling stations.

“The ORLEN Group’s bold and innovative projects implemented in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia can make it Central Europe’s leader in hydrogen fuel. We know that this is extremely important both from the business and  environmental perspective. Entering the market of sustainable hydrogen production will give us competitive advantages in the retail, refining and power generation business in the decades to come. It will also allow us to significantly reduce our carbon footprint, marking an important step towards achieving carbon neutrality in 2050,’ said Daniel Obajtek, President of the PKN ORLEN Management Board. 

The electrolysis plants, which will generate zero-emission hydrogen, will be fueled by offshore and onshore wind farms, as well as photovoltaics. In Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, respectively, 54, 22 and 26 hydrogen refueling stations for private, public, and cargo transport will be created.

The HYDROGEN EAGLE initiative will strengthen the European Hydrogen Backbone (EHB) hydrogen infrastructure, which is currently under development, and will boost Europe’s potential for zero- and low-carbon hydrogen production and supply chain development. Its implementation will contribute greatly to the reduction of carbon emissions and the development of renewable energy sources, while also advancing the circular economy’s aims through measures such as the conversion of municipal garbage into marketable products. The use of low-emission manufacturing technology will contribute to a reduction of up to 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.

The HYDROGEN EAGLE project has successfully passed an assessment by the Ministry of Development, Labor, and Technology as part of the IPCEI mechanism’s competition for hydrogen technologies and systems. The next step will be to notify the European Commission of the support.

HYDROGEN EAGLE represents another level in the ORLEN Group’s investment in low-emission hydrogen transport. In Germany, the Group operates experimental hydrogen refueling facilities at its Wolfsburg and Müllheim service stations. In Wocawek, Trzebinia, and Pock, automotive-grade hydrogen generation units with a combined capacity of nearly 1,000 kg per hour are being constructed. The hubs will distribute hydrogen to individual and public transportation hydrogen stations. PKN ORLEN has announced the start of a tender for the construction of Poland’s first hydrogen refueling stations in Pozna and Katowice. Additionally, six HR stations are planned for the Czech Republic.

Nedim Husomanovic

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