Tomasz Wiatrak, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Unipetrol Group, and Václav Holovčák, a member of the Board of Directors of Bonett Group, have signed an agreement for the construction of three hydrogen refuelling stations.
The construction of the first public hydrogen refuelling stations in the Czech Republic will start at the existing Benzina ORLEN Group sites in Prague-Barrandov and Litvínov this year. Their roll-out is planned for the next year.
Additional hydrogen dispenser will be installed on the forecourt of the Benzina station in Brno, Kaštanova Street. The preparations for the installation of hydrogen dispensers at Benzina’s outlet in Plzeň, Nepomucká Street, and in Prague, on the D10, in the direction to Mladá Boleslav, have already advanced, as well.
“I am pleased that after the challenging process of preparations and many paper works, we can finally start building the first three hydrogen refuelling stations in the Czech Republic. Bonett won the subsequent tender procedure for the implementation of the structure, which has also been approved by the Czech Ministry of Transport. Now, we could sign an agreement for the installation of hydrogen dispensers at Benzina filling stations in Prague-Barrandov, Litvínov, and Brno. We plan to open the first two hydrogen fuel sites next year and the third dispenser in Brno in second phase. We are also working on launching a tender procedure for the supplier of two more projects in Plzeň and Prague,” said Tomasz Wiatrak, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Unipetrol Group.
Hydrogen is the most environmentally friendly fuel because its incineration does not produce any unwanted substances. Unlike the typical e-cars, the hydrogen-fuelled vehicles do not need batteries. They can be refuelled in about the same time as their petrol- or diesel-fuelled counterparts. “We believe that hydrogene will complement the current battery electromobility over time and will play an increasingly important role not only in the field of personal mobility but especially in the field of public transport and transport services. That is why we want to cooperate with the manufacturers of hydrogen-fuelled cars and we want to invite them do the Czech Republic with their products. We are also in touch with state administration bodies and local governments. We are negotiating the use of hydrogen in mass transit with the City of Prague, Central Bohemia, and the Ústí Region,” Tomasz Wiatrak added.
Benzina stations in Prague-Barrandov and Litvínov will receive hydrogen that is produced during crude oil processing in Unipetrol’s refineries in Litvínov and Kralupy nad Vltavou. Unipetrol is also involved in specific projects of efficient hydrogen production from alternative sources, i.e. without a carbon footprint. They include water electrolyse using the power generated by photovoltaic cells.<
“Our bid for hydrogen stations has been evaluated as the best one, and we appreciate the fact that Bonett will supply the first hydrogen stations not only in the country but also in the region. It will also be a general contractor for a breakthrough transport project. We have already built hundreds of alternative-fuel stations and operate tens of them. The success in such a prestigious hydrogen tender is the highest achievement for us. We would like to follow up this project with other hydrogen activities and implementations not only in the Czech Republic but also in Poland and Slovakia where our group is actively present, too,” added Václav Holovčák, member of the Board of Directors of the Bonett Group.
So far, there has been only one non-public hydrogen refuelling station available in the Czech Republic, namely in Neratovice. It has supplied hydrogen to the local public transport bus since 2009. Hydrogen is popular especially in the US, Japan, and Germany. At the end of last year, Germany had 87 hydrogen refuelling stations. Two of them are at STAR outlets that are also part of the international ORLEN Group. At the end of 2019, there were 432 hydrogen refuelling stations in operation worldwide, with 330 of them being open for public.
Bonett is the largest specialised supplier of alternative-fuel stations in Central Europe and the second-largest CNG seller in the Czech Republic. The group is present on the Czech, Polish and Slovak markets. It focuses on investments and operation and supplies of alternative-fuel stations. Currently, Bonett operates 43 CNG stations with an investment value exceeding CZK 350 million and has a 15% share of CNG sales in the Czech Republic. To make transport environmentally friendlier, Bonett has built tens of other stations in the Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia, including a network of own LNG stations. The group’s objectives are to achieve an important position in hydrogen installations and to produce and sell bio-methane in its network. The group’s total investments in the Czech Republic and Poland are planned at CZK 750 million. Bonett stations stand for state-of-the-art technology and above-standard services.
The Unipetrol Group is the largest refinery and petrochemical company in the Czech Republic. It focuses on crude-oil processing and on the production, distribution and sale of vehicle fuels and petrochemical products – particularly plastics and fertilisers. In all these areas, it belongs among the important players on the Czech and Central European market. The Unipetrol Group encompasses refineries and production plants in Litvínov and Kralupy nad Vltavou, Paramo with its Mogul brand in Pardubice and Kolín, Spolana Neratovice, and two research centres in Litvínov and Brno. Unipetrol also includes a network of Benzina filling stations in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. With 417 filling stations, Benzina is the largest chain in the Czech Republic. Unipetrol is one of the largest companies in terms of turnover in the Czech Republic. It earned over CZK 129 billion last year and employs more than 4,800 persons. In addition to its business development, Unipetrol is proud to be a socially responsible corporation. Therefore, it pays an equal amount of attention to initiatives which focus on the cultivation and support of sustainable development, education, local communities, and the environment. In 2005, Unipetrol became a member of the PKN Orlen Group, the largest crude-oil processor in Central Europe.