Norwegian Transport Minister visits Berlin hydrogen station

December 15, 2006, 10:00 CET

"It is inspiring to see how Norway can play a leading role in developing environmentally friendly transport solutions for the future," said Minister of Transport Liv Signe Navarsete when she visited the Aral fuel station on Berlin's Messedamm on Thursday.

The station, the world’s biggest integrated hydrogen station, is situated right next to the international congress center and is one of the busiest in Berlin. Here there is a choice of pressurized hydrogen gas and liquid hydrogen, gasoline and diesel. Seventeen hydrogen vehicles are associated with the station, at which Hydro produces pressurized hydrogen by the electrolysis of water. Some of the vehicles associated with the project have combustion engines, while others are driven by fuel cells.

"The aim of the project is to demonstrate that hydrogen is a safe, environmentally friendly fuel that is well suited for everyday transport needs," says Hydro’s Ulf Hafseld, responsible for business development in the hydrogen area.

Hydrogen contains no environmentally harmful substances and water is the only emission from hydrogen fuel. The electrolysis process splits water into oxygen and hydrogen. The electricity consumed in this process is derived from renewable energy sources, which the project has secured through the purchase of green certificates.

Many projects

Hydro is participating in a number of hydrogen projects in Europe, and is also actively involved in developing a hydrogen highway from Oslo to Stavanger - HyNor. The aim of the road is to enable hydrogen fueled vehicles to drive – sometime in 2009 – between Stavanger and Oslo, with the focus on local activities in Oslo and Stavanger, as well as the junctions Drammen, Porsgrunn and Lyngdal.

The transport minister opened the first station in Stavanger in August. At the end of May she also laid the foundation stone for Hydro’s first hydrogen station in Norway, to be situated at Hydro’s Porsgrunn Research Centre and due for completion in spring 2007.

The Berlin project, the Clean Energy Partnership (CEP Berlin), consists of eleven different companies plus the active participation of the German authorities. In the same way as the Norwegian authorities provided important support for the Oslo-Stavanger hydrogen highway, the German authorities have also made a considerable contribution to the realization of the Berlin hydrogen project.

Germany is also in the vanguard when it comes to biodiesel, and there are currently some 1900 biodiesel sales locations in Germany. This greatly interested Minister Navarsete and she showed great interest in Hydro’s collaboration with Norske Skog to look into the possibility of producing second generation biodiesel from wood.

"Germany has made great progress when it comes to using environmentally friendly fuels such as hydrogen and biodiesel. Experience gained here can be good to have as we work to increase the use of hydrogen and biodiesel in Norway," said Navarsete.