Hydrogen Infrastructure Development
In recent years, the development of hydrogen fuel cell technology has made significant progress in Europe, as car manufacturers and governments recognize the need for greener vehicles and the finite nature of fossil fuels. As of the end of 2021, Europe had 254 hydrogen filling stations, with Germany leading the way with 105 stations, followed by France with 44 and the UK and the Netherlands tied with 17 each.
The Czech Republic has also been making strides in developing hydrogen infrastructure and in March 2023, the first public hydrogen filling station in the country opened in Prague, marking a significant step forward in the development of comprehensive hydrogen infrastructure in the country. Prague's new hydrogen station in Barrandov is operated by ORLEN Benzina, part of the ORLEN Unipetrol group. The company plans for twelve new hydrogen fuel stations by 2025 and up to 40 stations by 2030. The Ministry of Transportation is supporting the development of hydrogen fuel stations and has designated up to 1.2 billion crowns for this purpose.
Although hydrogen car sales are still lower than traditional electric cars, car manufacturers are investing significantly in their development. The hope is that they will be ready for any sudden changes in the market, and this investment could lead to an increase in the number of hydrogen vehicles on the road. Collaboration between governments, energy companies, and car manufacturers could help further the development of hydrogen infrastructure.
Hydrogen production is still an issue, with about 90% of hydrogen currently being produced from fossil fuels. However, ORLEN Unipetrol is researching the production of "green" hydrogen through the electrolysis of water, which is considered to be the most ecological fuel on the market.
The opening of the first public hydrogen filling station in Prague is a promising development for hydrogen fuel cell technology in the Czech Republic. With government support, investment from car manufacturers, and advances in technology, it's possible that we will soon see more hydrogen vehicles on the road and a wider range of hydrogen fueling stations across Europe.