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Belgium Region of Wallon to Develop Hydrogen Fuel Infrastructure for its Public Transport

By May 10, 2019

May 10, 2019

This Thursday, May 9, 2019, the Walloon Government approved the launch for a call for candidates for the establishment of two hydrogen production and distribution stations using electricity produced in Wallonia to supply a fleet of hydrogen buses.

Government has provided recoverable advances of an estimated € 8m for the two projects as well as grants of the order of € 8.7m.

Hydrogen, essential resource of the energy transition

Hydrogen, produced from carbon-free energy sources, is a key vector in medium and long-term climate policy. Europe is also developing scenarios, pushed to 2050, where hydrogen is likely to play a major role in the energy landscape:

  • It is the ideal complement to variable renewable production given its high flexibility;
  • It reduces greenhouse gas emissions in certain sectors for which low carbon alternatives are rare or non-existent.

The uses of hydrogen are varied:

  • As raw material in industry (replacing fossil hydrogen);
  • As fuel;
  • As fuel for power generation (via fuel cell);
  • As gas (via injection into the existing network for example).

Among these applications, the most mature for Wallonia is without context that of fuel for public transport, goods or logistics.

Greening of the bus fleet

In the public service contract of the Transport Operator of Wallonia (OTW), an environmental objective is included in order to contribute to the regional objectives of sustainable development: “Achieving the goal of a 30% reduction of CO2 emissions by kilometer on average for all services, all activities included compared to current emissions “.

Hydrogen is, logically, one of the options that will allow OTW to reduce its emissions.

The call for candidates covers the following two projects:

  • The installation and operation of a hydrogen production and distribution station using electricity produced in Wallonia to supply a fleet of buses in the Charleroi borough;
  • The installation and operation of a station for the production and distribution of hydrogen from electricity at the Liege Airport site to supply one or more fleets including buses.

The cost of hydrogen and rolling stock

The cost of producing hydrogen is still higher than that of its fossil fuel equivalents. It is therefore necessary to offset this additional cost in order to make this alternative fuel competitive with its reference, namely the diesel distributed to captive fleets. The compensation will be made through a subsidy and, where appropriate, a recoverable advance granted to each of the two projects for the production and distribution of hydrogen.

To this end, the Government has provided recoverable advances of an estimated € 8m for the two projects as well as grants of the order of € 8.7m.

It is also planned to support the acquisition and operation of rolling stock through the mobility policy aimed at greening the bus fleet and improving mobility around Walloon airports, through other actions. of the Walloon Plan of Investments.

Wallonia has also requested European support for JIVE grants .