On the road - powered by hydrogen

June 12, 2007, 01:00 CEST

 Hydro's President and CEO Eivind Reiten and State Secretary Steinulf Tungesvik of the Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communications took a spin in a hydrogen-powered car during the opening of Hydro's hydrogen fuelling station in Porsgrunn on Tuesday.

The car is one of nine environmentally friendly vehicles that can tank up at the station in Porsgrunn, Norway.

"The future belongs to those who can develop new energy solutions with little impact on the environment," Reiten said at the opening ceremony.

"The work with the Hydrogen Highway and the hydrogen station here at Porsgrunn is an example that it is possible to find solutions that are good for the environment when politicians, the authorities, organizations and industry pull in the same direction."

About 40 public and private partners are cooperating in building the 'Hydrogen Highway' between Oslo and Stavanger; the Porsgrunn station will be an important stop along the way. Reiten thanked all the participants who have made it possible to drive the nine vehicles in the area with fuel from the hydrogen station.

In addition to Oslo, Porsgrunn and Stavanger, stations will be built in Lyngdal and Drammen for the Hydrogen Highway opening in 2009.

"Important energy carrier"

Reiten helped State Secretary Tungesvik fill up the first "tank" of hydrogen in one of the brand-new vehicles. Tungesvik was also the first to actually drive one of the cars for a short tour.

"Hydrogen can be one of the future’s most important energy carriers for transportation. It is, however, vital to produce the hydrogen from renewable energy sources, or from fossil fuels in which the CO2 emissions has been taken care of," Tungesvik said, before sliding behind the wheel.

Afterward, any of the participants and bystanders could experience the feeling of having a foot on the "gas pedal" of the environmentally friendly car. Hydrogen contains no environmentally harmful ingredients – the only emission is water. So it’s not so strange that the test drive attracted a lot of interest among the hundred-plus crowd of car – and environment – enthusiasts at the opening.

Technical innovations

With the nine vehicles, the Porsgrunn area claims one of the world’s biggest fleets of hydrogen-powered cars. The Toyota Prius models, a hybrid with electric and internal combustion engines, have been converted from gasoline to hydrogen power by California-based Quantum Technologies.

Hydrogen is an energy carrier that can be used in a number of energy sources. The petrochemicals plant at nearby Rafnes supplies hydrogen as a by-product of its own activities , and the energy used in the hydrogen production comes from pure hydropower. An undersea gas pipeline transports the hydrogen from Rafnes across a fjord to the hydrogen station. In fact, the station is the first in Norway that is directly connected to the source of production, which also lessens the environmental impact of transport. The location near a large industrial site also makes it easier to expand later, as demand for hydrogen increases.

A number of technical innovations were unveiled for the first time at the hydrogen station opening. Hydro has developed a new concept for storing pressurized hydrogen underground, which optimizes space and increases safety near the station. Hydro’s Research Center in Porsgrunn has also developed systems that ensure safety during filling, as well as making filling as fast and precise as possible.

Further information

  • Public Affairs Manager Lars Nermoen, Hydro
    Direct number: +47 22536379
    Mobile phone: +47 90240153
    Email: lars.nermoen@hydro.com