PKN Orlen has announced it will invest PLN 7.4bn on low and zero-carbon hydrogen development projects by 2030 to help build a hydrogen economy in Europe.
The multi-utility company which provides energy and fuel for more than 100 million Europeans, has developed a Hydrogen Strategy covering four key areas: mobility, refining and petrochemicals, research and development, and industry and energy.
The project investments will be based on renewable energy sources and municipal waste conversion technology, according to the company, and the projects will support the Orlen Group’s transformation into a carbon-neutral multi-utility group.
Ten hydrogen hubs will be developed by the end of the decade, producing around 60kt of low and zero-carbon hydrogen per year, which will provide motorists in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia with access to a network of more than 100 hydrogen refuelling stations.
Daniel Obajtek, President of the PKN Orlen Management Board, said: “We need to maximise profits and dynamically grow our new business lines to drive our transformation into a multi-utility group. This is the only way we can effectively respond to the challenges facing the fuel and energy sector.
“By 2030, we plan to invest over PLN 7bn in projects ensuring nearly half of the hydrogen produced by the Orlen Group will be low- and zero-carbon. This would help us reduce CO2 emissions by 1.6m tonnes. We already have strong capabilities in developing hydrogen technologies, backed by our vast experience in the field. And the implementation of our hydrogen strategy will position us as a partner of choice in building a hydrogen economy in Central and Eastern Europe.”
Hydrogen has low to zero-carbon intensity and is therefore hailed as a major player in the green energy transition. It is convenient and boasts a wide range of applications, including in transport, industry and municipal services and with this in mind, the Group has created a hydrogen economy development strategy to complement the Orlen Group Strategy 2030.
Approximately 0.5GW of new hydrogen production capacity will be installed by the end of the decade, using renewable energy sources and municipal waste conversion. By using carbon storage and utilisation technology (CCS/CCU) the Group will be able to lower the carbon intensity of a further 120kt of hydrogen produced by its facilities in Płock. As a result, almost half of the hydrogen used by the Group should come from zero or low-carbon sources in 2030.
The first hydrogen hub was deployed last year in Trzebinia, which produces grey hydrogen for transport and is to ultimately produce low-carbon hydrogen from renewable energy sources. Another hub is being developed in Włocławek, which is due to start producing green hydrogen in the second half of 2023 and a hub in Płock will be launched in 2025 to produce green hydrogen for industrial and transport applications.
By 2030, the Group is also set to launch 100 public access hydrogen refuelling stations with the necessary logistics infrastructure, including 57 in Poland, around 28 in Slovakia, and approximately 26 in the Czech Republic. It already operates two hydrogen refuelling stations in Germany and four more stations will be built this year: three in the Czech Republic and one in Kraków, Poland.
The Orlen Group has already taken steps to use hydrogen in urban public transport and rail transport by signing letters of intent to collaborate with 17 municipalities and four companies in Poland as potential hydrogen customers. It will also develop hydrogen technology for industry and energy generation.
Nancy Schurig, Principal Consultant, Europe said: "Hydrogen is moving more towards becoming an alternative for fossil fuels. Countries who have already started investing in Hydrogen are pioneers in developing new industries and strengthening the economy. Due to the current situation across the world, it is a step towards becoming an important provider for Hydrogen in Europe."
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Nancy is a Senior Consultant within Acre's Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability team in Europe.
Nancy is specialised in sales, operations and business development recruitment within the sustainable energy sector including renewable energy and energy storage systems for the German market. Prior to this, she was responsible for developing the Energy & CleanTech Sector within Germany and Europe, in a German Recruitment firm for more than 4 years.
Earlier she was working in a reputable consulting firm with the focus on the energy market. As a PMO she was part of big transformation and change processes of a global European energy company. She holds a BA in business administration from Berlin school of Economics. She is fluent in German and English.