PKN ORLEN has commenced the process to select a contractor for its hydrogen refuelling stations, with the first stations serving buses and passenger cars to be deployed in Poznań and Katowice. The Group is also set to start the construction of a hydrogen hub in Włocławek by the end of this year.
‘We strongly believe alternative fuels will play an increasingly important role in advancing the automotive industry. We want to spearhead the process, so we are focusing on building hydrogen hubs, and hydrogen technologies are a key element of the ORLEN2030 strategy. We believe hydrogen has the greatest potential as a fuel in public transport. Poznań and Katowice, the two cities where our first hydrogen refuelling stations will be located, are examples of good collaboration between PKN ORLEN and local governments that benefits both business and the environment,’Daniel Obajtek, President of the PKN ORLEN Management Board
The ORLEN2030 strategy prioritizes progress in the development and distribution of alternative fuels, and the refueling stations are part of the ORLEN Group’s ambitious hydrogen program, which includes the construction of high-purity hydrogen production sources in Trzebinia and Wocawek. The Trzebinia hub is currently under construction and is expected to be operational by the end of 2021. The project to create a hydrogen hub in Wocawek is nearing completion, with construction expected to begin later this year.
The locations of the refueling stations were chosen based on agreements reached with local municipalities involved in establishing zero-emission public transportation. The project, which is powered by hydrogen provided by the ORLEN Group, will provide fuel for commercial use by municipal transportation systems once it is operational. Depending on the size of the bus fleet, demand at each location is expected to be between 450 and 600 kg of hydrogen per day.
The hydrogen refueling stations will be located at the current ORLEN service stations on Warszawska and Murckowska in Pozna and Katowice, respectively, with refueling facilities for passenger cars and buses.
Public transportation vehicles will be refueled at a pressure of 350 bar, allowing for the filling of approximately 28 kg of fuel in 15 minutes and a range of approximately 400 km. This means that a bus would be able to travel the 26.8-kilometer longest public transportation route in Pozna 15 times on a single fill. Buses that run on hydrogen help to reduce pollution and noise levels. Over the average life cycle of a vehicle, which is expected to be 12 years, replacing a diesel-powered city bus with a hydrogen-fueled one will avoid the emission of 800 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Buses with hydrogen-powered motors are also much quieter than those with traditional engines. A passenger car will take five minutes to refuel at 700 bar, with around 5.25 kg of fuel providing a range of up to 700 km.
The ORLEN Group’s consistent efforts to introduce an alternative fuels development program that includes the construction of hydrogen hubs in Trzebinia, Wrocawek, and Pock with target production capacities in excess of 1,000 kg of high-purity hydrogen per hour have resulted in the deployment of the first hydrogen refueling stations in Poland. The infrastructure’s modular nature will enable the Group to adapt quickly to changes in customer demand. PKN ORLEN uses process safety expertise and experience acquired through decades of using hydrogen in its oil refining and petrochemical processes to develop the hydrogen infrastructure.
The PKN ORLEN refueling station network will be expanded based on the company’s experience in Germany, where two hydrogen refueling points have been operational at ORLEN stations since 2017. In addition, the Group is nearing completion of the installation of three hydrogen stations in the Czech Republic. By the end of 2021, two stations in Prague and Litvinov will be operational, with additional stations on the D10 motorway in Prague, Brno, and Plze to open in 2022.