The first publicly accessible hydrogen station in Belgium opened on 22nd of April 2016 as part of the FCH2 JU funded project, SWARM. The Air Liquide station opened in the presence of the Flemish Minister and Director of Innovative and Sustainable Mobility at the European Commission, with SWARM partners H20 e-mobile and Microcab Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles on show.
The Air Liquide station is located on the Toyota premises in Zaventem. The event was attended by a large group from the press, European Commission representatives as well as Flemish Minister A. Turtelboom.
FCH2 JU Head of Operations Unit, Jean-Luc Delplancke, gave a keynote speech highlighting the benefits of the project which brings together a public private partnership: "The SWARM project illustrates also that in Europe we are stronger if we are cooperating. Indeed the project includes 17 beneficiaries from 4 different Member States. Most of these beneficiaries are SMEs or research institutes showing the importance of SMEs involvement in the FCH JU programme and illustrating the innovation potential of these SMEs. Just look at the 50 new concept cars to be built and operated in the SWARM project. These cars will not be built by the traditional well known OEMs of the automobile sector but well by these SMEs."
Both H20 e-mobile and Microcab Fuel Cell Electric vehicles (FCEVs) were on show and received a lot of interest from the local and international press. The vehicles will be trialled in 2016 in Belgium and other locations across Europe as part of the SWARM project.
Ms Magda Kopczynska, Director of Innovative and Sustainable Mobility at the European Commission Directorate General for Mobility and Transport stated: "As expressed in the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive (2014/94/EU) the European Commission believes that hydrogen can be part of the solution for low-carbon transportation. We therefore very much welcome the progressive expansion of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in Europe. It is a backbone and principal enabler for hydrogen mobility."
The hydrogen supplied by Air Liquide will be produced off-site and delivered to the station. The station, designed and constructed by Air Liquide, will be capable of fuelling between 30 and 40 cars a day with each refill taking less than 5 minutes.Hydrogen FCEVs can have a range of more than 300 miles (500 km) per fill, depending on the model. The stations have the capacity to support both SWARM and other auto manufacturers as they begin to bring hydrogen FCEVs into the region.