By 2030, PKN ORLEN will allocate PLN 7.4 billion for investments that will enable the concern to develop in the area of low- and zero-emission hydrogen based on renewable energy sources and municipal waste processing technology.
The ORLEN Group Hydrogen Strategy will be implemented in four key areas: mobility, refinery and petrochemicals, research and development, and industry and energy. As a result, by the end of this decade, 10 hydrogen hubs will be built, and drivers in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia will be able to use a network of over 100 hydrogen refueling stations. The implemented projects will support the transformation of the ORLEN Group towards an emission-neutral multi-energy concern.
By 2030, PKN ORLEN will allocate PLN 7.4 billion for investments that will enable the concern to develop in the area of low- and zero-emission hydrogen based on renewable energy sources and municipal waste processing technology. The ORLEN Group Hydrogen Strategy will be implemented in four key areas: mobility, refinery and petrochemicals, research and development, and industry and energy. As a result, by the end of this decade, 10 hydrogen hubs will be built, and drivers in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia will be able to use a network of over 100 hydrogen refueling stations. The implemented projects will support the transformation of the ORLEN Group towards an emission-neutral multi-energy concern.
“We must maximize profits and dynamically develop new areas of our activity. They will also be the driving force behind our transformation and building a multi-energy concern. Only in this way will we be able to effectively respond to the challenges faced by the fuel and energy sectors. By 2030, we will allocate over PLN 7 billion to investments, thanks to which nearly half of the hydrogen produced by the ORLEN Group will be low- and zero-emission. In this way, we will reduce CO2 emissions by 1.6 million tonnes. We already have strong competences in the development of hydrogen technologies, supported by extensive experience. In turn, the implementation of the strategy in this area will make us a partner of first choice in building a hydrogen economy in Central and Eastern Europe: – says Daniel Obajtek, President of the Management Board of PKN ORLEN .
Hydrogen is a gas which, thanks to its low or even zero emission efficiency, is considered one of the key elements of the energy transformation worldwide. It is convenient to use and has a wide range of applications – it can be used in transport, industry or in the municipal sector, e.g. in heating. Due to these properties, the concern has developed a development strategy in the area of hydrogen economy, which complements the Strategy of the ORLEN Group until 2030.
By the end of this decade, the ORLEN Group wants to install approximately 0.5 GW of new hydrogen generation capacity, obtained from renewable energy sources and municipal waste processing. Achieving this goal will be possible thanks to the construction of a total of 10 hydrogen hubs, mainly in Poland, but also in the Czech Republic. They will produce around 60 kt of low- and zero-emission hydrogen annually. In addition, the use of carbon dioxide storage and use technology (CCS / CCU) will enable the concern to reduce the emission intensity of the production of another 120 kt of hydrogen from production installations in Płock. As a result of these investments, almost half of the hydrogen used in the ORLEN Group should come from zero- or low-emission sources in 2030.
The company launched its first hydrogen hub in Trzebinia in 2021. Currently, it produces gray hydrogen for transport, while ultimately it will produce low-emission hydrogen from renewable energy sources. Another hub is being built in Włocławek. It is scheduled to start producing green hydrogen in the second half of 2023. Two years later, a hub in Płock will be launched. Its green hydrogen will be used in industry and transport.
By 2030, the company will also launch over 100 generally accessible hydrogen refueling stations with the necessary logistics. There will be approximately 57 of them in Poland, approximately 26 in Slovakia, and approximately 28 in the Czech Republic. The current ORLEN Group already has two hydrogen refueling stations in Germany. This year, four more will be built: three in the Czech Republic and one in Poland, in Krakow. In turn, in 2023, it is planned to launch hydrogen stations in Poznań and Katowice. Each of them will have refueling stations for passenger cars and buses. 700 bar pressure will be used for refueling passenger cars, which will allow the car to be fully refueled within 5 minutes. In practice, about 5 kg of fuel will be delivered to the car, which will enable a distance of up to 700 km.
Installations for the production of automotive-quality hydrogen will also be built, to which the stations will be supplied. According to the strategy, the concern wants to produce at least 19 kt of hydrogen for transport. This is the amount that will allow to power about 1000 buses and 160 trains a year.
The ORLEN Group had already taken steps to develop hydrogen in municipal public transport and rail, signing letters of intent on cooperation with 17 Polish cities and four companies that are potential hydrogen consumers. This will make it possible to locate investments in places with the highest potential for the development of hydrogen transport.
The concern also places a strong emphasis on research and development in the Hydrogen Strategy. In 2021, an analytical hydrogen research laboratory was commissioned in Trzebinia. By 2025, a hydrogen laboratory will be built at the Research and Development Center in Płock. It will include tests and research on installations in the field of hydrogen production, its quality and purification, as well as storage and transport.
The hydrogen technology will also be developed by the ORLEN Group in the area of industry and energy. The strategy assumes that new CCGT units built within the concern will be able to co-burn hydrogen. On the other hand, the long-term surplus of low- and zero-emission hydrogen will be available to the company for the needs of other industries in the country and abroad (including the planned European Hydrogen Transmission Network).
Due to the innovative, comprehensive and international nature of the projects, a significant part of them will apply for funding. In 2021, the “Clean Cities” project, assuming the development of infrastructure for the needs of transport, received EUR 2 million in non-returnable funding from the EU’s CEF Transport Blending Facility program. The “Hydrogen Eagle” project, which covers Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, is applying for non-returnable funding under the EU’s IPCEI program for the Polish and Czech part.