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ČR to have its first hydrogen filling station

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Would you like to fill your tank with ten kilos of hydrogen? Soon drivers in the Czech Republic will not find such question strange. The Nuclear Research Institute (ÚJV) in Řež in cooperation with Linde Gas will in Neratovice in May open the first filling station, which instead of petrol, diesel or LPG will provide drivers with pure hydrogen.

The first hydrogen filling station in the new EU member states will open after three years of preparations. The station will be located “within a driving distance” from the nearest German hydrogen filling station in Dresden.

The station will not have many customers in the beginning; only one bus of the Neratovice public transport company Veolia Transport will be able to use it. The bus was designed by Plzeň-based Škoda Electric especially for that reason. The bus, which uses hydrogen fuel cells to produce electricity, is currently waiting for approval.

Connecting to Germany’s hydrogen route

More buses or personal cars could join the trend in the future. They could be similar models as those sold by the carmaker Honda in the United States. The Czech Republic will use the Neratovice hydrogen station to connect with the Germany’s “hydrogen route” and thus open up to hydrogen fueled cars coming from the west.

“Our station makes sense even though it is now only for a single bus. The goal is to show the public how the alternative fuel actually works,” said project manager from ÚJV Řež, Luděk Janík.

“The original plan of a hydrogen motorway for Germany should include all major cities. We want to introduce hydrogen as alternative fuel in the Czech Republic,” said Zbyněk Brada, product manager from Linde Gas.

CZK 83 million project

The cost of the project are estimated at CZK 83 million, 75% of which was paid by the European Union and the Czech state. Half of the total costs will be used for the bus.

The consumption of the Neratovice bus is estimated at 8 kilograms of hydrogen per 100 kilometres. The cost per kilometre is comparable to petrol-fueled buses. The major advantage, though, is the zero emissions, or to be more exact, just the emission of water vapour.

There are supporters and opponents of hydrogen fuel. “I consider hydrogen the only possible alternative to petrol and diesel. It is a matter of ten years before the fuel is widely used,” said Ivan Indráček, chairman of the Czech Association of Petrol Stations.

There are currently several dozen hydrogen filling stations in Europe, mostly in Germany.

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