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New hydrogen filling station opens in Hamburg

September 15, 2003, 12:30 CEST

Hydro is delivering hydrogen at the new filling station formally opened this morning in Hamburg. Norsk Hydro Electrolysers has delivered the complete hydrogen technology. The solutions are well approved and acknowledged in regard to safety and operation.

The opening of the hydrogen filling station, in the garage premises of the Hamburger Hochbahn, was quite a spectacular event. A hydrogen-fuelled bus drove through a thin wall of foil decorated with the logos of all the project participants – thereby signifying a new breakthrough in the development of the hydrogen society. Norsk Hydro's familiar Viking ship featured among the many logos displayed, as Hydro is an active partner in the EU's CUTE (Clean Urban Transport for Europe) project, which the new Hamburg station is part of.

Present at the opening were officials from Hamburg and the EU, as well as representatives of local partners: the Hamburger Hochbahn bus company, the energy supplier Hamburgische Electricitäts-Werke (HEW), filling station owner BP/Aral, plus project owner and bus manufacturer DaimlerChrysler/Evobus.

If emission-free, hydrogen-fuelled fuel cell vehicles are adopted, air pollution and noise levels in big cities will be considerably reduced. The CUTE project is putting technology, supply and regulations to the test, with the aim of identifying locally adapted solutions and joint standards.

Hydro's central role

By virtue of its long experience gained in producing, using and handling hydrogen, Hydro has been given a central advisor role on the project. CUTE represents the first wide-ranging initiative for a pan-European demonstration of hydrogen supplied and used for transport purposes. The project includes the testing of 27 hydrogen fuel-cell buses in nine European cities between now and 2006.

With a price tag of about EUR 50 million, CUTE is the biggest hydrogen project in Europe and is supported by the EU Commission. In addition to prime mover DaimlerChrysler, 27 project partners are participating in it, including major energy companies, equipment suppliers, public authorities and local transport companies. The project is expected to have a great impact on future hydrogen applications in the European transport sector.

The new Hamburg filling station has "HH2 Wasserstoff" as its motto. HH is the abbreviation for Hansestadt Hamburg, while the number 2 is added to provide associations with the hydrogen molecule. The goal in Hamburg is to produce hydrogen exclusively from "green" energy. This is to be achieved by accessing renewable power and green certificates.

Hydrogen buses in nine countries

Norsk Hydro Electrolysers (NHEL) delivered a hydrogen station to Hamburgische Electricitäts-Werke in Germany. The station is the second NHEL has produced, the first having been delivered to Reykjavik on Iceland. The Hamburg filling station has the capacity to supply three hydrogen-fuelled buses that will be put into regular traffic this autumn.

The hydrogen filling station uses the most recently available technology, devised in accordance with the EU's directive. The station will come on stream as soon as the fuel-cell buses are delivered and will be run automatically from a Hamburg plant linked up directly to NHEL in Notodden.

In the course of the CUTE project it is planned to launch trials involving a total of 27 buses over a three-year period in nine European cities.

Read more about the Hamburg filling station at this dedicated website:


  • Hydro has been participating in the CUTE project since it was set up in the spring of 2001. The project was initiatiated by DaimlerChrysler, who is also responsible for its organization. The unique aspect of the CUTE project is its breadth – in terms of the geography, participants and the ways in which the hydrogen is produced.

  • In addition to supplying hydrogen stations, Hydro is responsible for the safety and quality studies conducted in the CUTE project. Three cities have been selected for closer study: Stockholm, for hydrogen production using hydrolysis, Madrid for hydrogen production from oil and natural gas, and Amsterdam, also for hydrolysis-based hydrogen production, possibly supplemented by liquid hydrogen from natural gas, as a back-up measure if hydrolysis should prove unsuccessful.

  • Hydro has availed itself of solid industrial expertise, acknowledged international standards and guidelines, plus established working methods to develop a system of evaluation for the safe use of hydrogen in the three cities. Hydro has thus developed a methodology that can provide the basis for a subsequent standard for safe hydrogen filling stations.


  • Last autumn, the EU Commission set up a high-level group in the hydrogen and fuel cell area, in which Hydro participated. On 11 September of this year the Commission was able to announce one of the conclusions of the group's work, the establishment of a European partnership to promote hydrogen and fuel cell development.