Axpo plans CO2-free hydrogen production for Coop’s network of service stations
author Added by FuelCellsWorks, December 07, 2015

Clean hydrogen from clean domestic hydropower to ensure CO2-free future mobility: Axpo will in future deliver hydrogen produced with electricity generated by an Axpo hydropower plant directly to Coop's new network of service stations. The project was launched today. After opening the first public fuelling station for hydrogen-powered vehicles in Switzerland, Coop will expand its offer to other service stations. This project makes an important contribution to the reduction of CO2 emissions by vehicles and opens up a new and attractive field of business for Axpo.

This joint project by Coop and Axpo is a pioneering project for the transport sector. The papers have been signed. According to the signed letter of intent, these two partners are planning to open the first public hydrogen fuelling station in Switzerland. The step-by-step expansion of the service is planned for the medium term. As the largest producer of renewable energies in Switzerland, Axpo will produce the hydrogen that is needed, using only electricity generated from renewable Swiss hydropower.

"If everything goes according to plan, Axpo will be able to make a direct contribution to reducing CO2 emissions from traffic. This dovetails neatly with our sustainability strategy to protect the climate. In the medium and long run we will also help to narrow Switzerland's dependence on fossil fuels by introducing a domestic, CO2-free energy carrier," says Andrew Walo, CEO of Axpo. In order to produce the hydrogen, Axpo will install an electrolyser at one of its existing run-of-river power plants. An electrolyser uses electricity to split water into oxygen and hydrogen. The hydrogen can then be stored and delivered to the fuelling station as and when needed. The first hydrogen fuelling station is planned to open in 2016.

Environmentally friendly and competitive

Axpo and Coop are the ideal partners. Through its subsidiary Coop Mineraloel AG, the Swiss supermarket chain owns a dense network of service stations throughout Switzerland. It is also planning to progressively replace part of its own fleet with hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. These are excellent conditions for success in a new market.

The EU is constantly tightening the CO2 regulations for new vehicles in the EU, and Switzerland copies these regulations. This creates a demand for new solutions. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles provide one answer to the problem, and the market is increasingly seeing the launch of first production vehicles. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles not only meet the demands for ecologically sustainable mobility, but also offer the comfort of a normal car: it only takes two to four minutes to fill up a car powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology with enough fuel to drive around 500 kilometres. This compares well to traditional internal combustion engines. The fuel costs per 100 kilometres for a hydrogen car will be similar to petrol and diesel vehicles. And instead of exhaust gases, a hydrogen car only emits water vapour. As Axpo intends to use clean hydropower to produce the hydrogen, the fuel will also be climate-neutral.

Axpo is convinced of the market potential and aims to invest several million francs in this project. The partners will now start working full-steam on the successful realisation of the project.