Shell to build four hydrogen refueling stations in Netherlands
Oil giant Shell is going to build four hydrogen refueling stations (HRS) in its home country, the Netherlands, to start with as part of the European H2Benelux subsidy program. Two of them are planned in the Amsterdam region, one in The Hague and one in the Drentse Pesse.
The H2Benelux program foresees 5,3 million euro European money to subsidize eight hydrogen stations in the Benelux: 4 in the Netherlands, 3 in Belgium and 1 in Luxembourg. The rest of the investment is done in partnership with local governments and the industry.
“These subsidies are necessary because building and maintaining a hydrogen refueling station is expensive”, Alice Elliot, hydrogen expert at Shell, says. “In the beginning demand will be low, while operational costs are high. Those costs will decrease the moment the critical mass is increasing.”
This is confirmed by a report published earlier this year by the German research bureau, Julich. With 20 million electric vehicles driving around, the costs for electrical charging infrastructure will be 51 billion euro, while hydrogen infrastructure will ‘only’ cost 40 billion.
Electric charging network
Shell is already fairly active in the electric charging business and has expanded its electric charging network recently by taking over NewMotion, and it is rolling out 80 superfast Ionity chargers across Europe in its own fuel station network. It believes battery-powered electric cars and fuel cell cars will exist next to each other for a long time to come.
“People driving short distances in and around the city will rather choose for a battery-powered car, but when you need to cover larger distances, you need more electric potential. Then hydrogen is an obvious choice”, Elliot says.
40 fuel cell cars in Holland
By the end of 2017, a mere 40 hydrogen fuel cell cars were driving around in the Netherlands. One of them driven by Shell Netherlands CEO, Marjan van Loon. The H2 platform estimates by 2020 there will be some 2.000 hydrogen fuel cell cars in the Netherlands. To compare: there are 130.000 electric (including hybrids) cars in Holland today.
Today there are only three refueling stations available: in Arnhem, Helmond and Rhoon. By 2020, the H2 platform aims at a network of 16 refueling stations in the Netherlands. In Germany Shell is part of a government program in partnership with the industry to build a network of 400 hydrogen refueling stations by the end of 2023. Shell will deliver 230 of them.