Liège Airport to develop hydrogen station on site
Liège Airport officials have confirmed that the construction of a hydrogen service station is underway. The Airport has the ambition to run all its vehicles on hydrogen in five years. To be built in conjunction with John Cockerill, the station will also be open to the public.
Fuel cell technology has been around for more than a hundred years, but its use in cars and its marketing is still in its early days. With only two filling stations – one at the Toyota Europe offices and the second at Colruyt in Halle – Belgium hasn’t yet the ideal environment for hydrogen development.
“In five years, all our vehicles will run on hydrogen. Our clients, such as TNT, are asking for it. In the USA, FedEx is already advanced on the matter,” declares José Happart, Vice-President of Liège Airport. In conjunction with John Cockerill, the airport will set up a filling station accessible from inside and outside the airport.
The Belgian company will also be in charge of constructing a 2MW hydrogen production plant. José Happart notes that hydrogen production will be completely renewable as the electricity powering the hydrolyzer will come from solar panels. “By 2025, we’ll have 25 to 30 hectares of solar panels. Rather than put all that electricity back in the network, we’ll be able to store it thanks to the production of hydrogen,” adds the airport Vice-President.
Low number of vehicles
“The project should be finalised by 2021. All in all, we’re talking about a 20 million euros investment, half of which is for the service station,” explains Jean-Luc Maurange, CEO of John Cockerill. A subvention dossier of 16 million euros was filed during the previous legislature, but it should be analyzed once again by the new government.
“The biggest chunk of our future clients will be the TEC buses,, explains Marc Sparmont, Liège Airport’s human resources director. One thing’s for sure: clients won’t be knocking at their door at all hours of day and night.
Currently, only Hyundai and Toyota sell fuel-cell vehicles in Belgium with their respective Nexo and Mirai. Next year, Renault will market two new versions of its Kangoo and Master commercial vehicles, both using fuel cells as a range extender.