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Foundation stone laid for Hydro's first hydrogen station in Norway

May 31, 2006, 14:00 CEST

On Wednesday 31 May, Norway's Minister of Transport and Hydro's CEO Eivind Reiten marked the start of building work on the first hydrogen station in Norway.

"Throughout our entire hundred-year history, Hydro has worked to find new energy solutions. Building the hydrogen station at Herøya is an important milestone for Hydro as an energy company, for society, and not least for the environment," said Hydro’s CEO Eivind Reiten, as the foundation stone was laid.

Hydrogen contains no environmentally hazardous substances, and only water is emitted from hydrogen cars. Nine hydrogen vehicles will be connected to the hydrogen station at Herøya in Porsgrunn, which as a result will have the world’s second largest fleet of hydrogen cars. The cars are Toyota Prius hybrid vehicles, with both electric motors and combustion engines converted to run on hydrogen.

The hydrogen station in Porsgrunn is scheduled to be completed during the spring of 2007. The station will form an important intersection on HyNor’s planned Hydrogen Road between Oslo and Stavanger. The aim is that it will be possible to drive hydrogen vehicles from Stavanger to Oslo by the end of 2009, supported by junctions with local activity in Stavanger, Lyngdal, Porsgrunn, Drammen and Oslo.

Important project

"HyNor is an important project for gathering knowledge and experience regarding the use of hydrogen as fuel. This forms the background for the Government allocating around NOK 22 million in its budget for 2006 to research and development of projects connected to alternative energy and environmentally-friendly fuel, among others the project HyNor," said Minister of Transport and Communications Liv Signe Navarsete, during the ceremony when the foundation stone was laid.

HyNor is a joint project with around 30 public and private partners cooperating in order to boost the use of hydrogen for transport purposes in Norway. Reiten therefore used the occasion to thank the many partners who have contributed to realising the project.

"Meeting the climate challenge requires new and more environmentally friendly forms of transport, and in this work industry has a key role – in developing new technology and seeking out new and exciting solutions," Reiten said. "Having said this, the challenge is so large in scope that change will take time, and will demand cooperation between the authorities, voluntary organizations, local communities and industry."

Hydrogen by pipeline from Rafnes

Hydrogen is an energy carrier that can be produced from a range of different energy sources. It is a by-product at the petrochemical plants at Rafnes. The hydrogen from Rafnes will be transported by pipeline to Herøya. This means that the hydrogen station at Herøya will be the world’s first publicly accessible hydrogen station connected to a sizeable industrial plant.

"In the future there may be a large market for hydrogen for transport purposes, which will make connecting hydrogen stations to large industrial plants very interesting," commented Ulf Hafseld, head of business development for Hydro’s hydrogen projects.

Hydro has a broad portfolio within renewable energy, participates actively in a number of hydrogen projects in Europe, and supplies hydrogen to hydrogen stations in Berlin, Hamburg and Reykjavik.

"We believe that we will witness a broad combination of energy forms in the future. Wind power, bioenergy, solar power and hydrogen will all be important supplements to oil, gas and coal. A hydrogen society is probably still some way off, but if we are to continue to be best at finding the energy solutions of tomorrow, we must start today," commented Alexandra Bech Gjørv, Executive Vice President for Hydro’s efforts within new forms of energy.