The refining and petrochemical group ORLEN Unipetrol has started to offer a new type of fuel in its network of ORLEN Benzina filling stations. It has put into operation a hydrogen filling stand for cars, trucks and buses at the filling station in Prague - Barrandov. The introduction of the hydrogen fuel offer is in line with the ORLEN Unipetrol Group's strategy for emission-free development and follows EU and national priorities in the development of public infrastructure for clean mobility. By 2030, ORLEN Unipetrol plans to operate 28 hydrogen filling stations in the Czech Republic and two hydrogen distribution terminals for rail transport in Litvínov and Neratovice.
"We are gradually implementing the goals of our strategic development towards emission neutrality, which we want to achieve by 2050 at the latest. We are emphasising the development of the petrochemical segment, decarbonisation, digitalisation, recycling and the use of alternative energy sources including biofuels and hydrogen. By 2030, we will invest CZK 35 billion in this direction," Tomasz Wiatrak, ORLEN Unipetrol Group's CEO, described the Group's development plans.
The Ministry of Transport supported the construction of a hydrogen station in Barrandov as part of the Operational Program Transport 2. "According to the current clean mobility plan, there should be 12 hydrogen stations in the Czech Republic by 2025 and 40 stations by 2030," said Minister Martin Kupka, and at the same time points out, that the given targets do not yet reflect the current form of the proposal of the European regulation on the introduction of infrastructure for alternative fuels, according to which it is necessary to build a hydrogen infrastructure every 200 km on the main TEN-T network. "We therefore expect an update of the National Clean Mobility Plan this year," concluded Minister Kupka.
ORLEN Unipetrol is very active in building alternative fuel infrastructure. In its ORLEN Benzina network, which is the largest chain in the Czech Republic with 431 stations, it offers a range of alternative energies alongside conventional fuels. Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is available at 56 stations, compressed natural gas (CNG) can be refuelled at 46 stations and a total of 225 charging points for electric vehicles are available at 55 stations.
"To the existing conventional and alternative fuels and electricity, we are now adding hydrogen, which will significantly expand the possibilities of developing low-emission and emission-free mass and freight transport. The expansion of the offer at our filling stations is fully in line with our Group's development strategy and follows EU and national priorities in the development of public infrastructure for clean mobility," said Tomasz Wiatrak, adding: "The ORLEN Benzina filling station in Prague's Barrandov district is fully unmanned, non-stop accessible to the general public and suitable for cars, trucks and buses. The next hydrogen station is going to be opened in Litvínov this summer."
Hydrogen-powered vehicles are essentially electric cars. However, they do not draw their energy from batteries, but through the reaction of hydrogen with oxygen in fuel cells to form water. The fundamental advantage of hydrogen vehicles over existing battery electric vehicles is their long range and short refuelling time, which is comparable to petrol and diesel cars. So far, several dozen hydrogen cars are in operation in the Czech Republic. However, by 2030, the Czech Ministry of Transport estimates that there could be up to 50,000 hydrogen-powered cars on Czech roads.
"In the coming years, hydrogen will complement battery electromobility and will play an increasingly important role not only in personal transport, but especially in public transport and transport services on road and rail. We produce 80 thousand tonnes of hydrogen annually at our refineries and have already developed concrete plans for hydrogen production using electricity from environmentally clean sources such as the sun, wind or the Earth's heat. By 2030 we want to produce 4.5 thousand tonnes of hydrogen with a low carbon footprint, which represents a capacity for about 30 thousand cars," concludes Tomasz Wiatrak.
The ORLEN Benzina filling station in Prague's Barrandov district is fully unmanned, accessible to the general public in non-stop mode and suitable for filling cars, trucks and buses. There are two filling dispensers with different head shapes for filling cars at 700 bar and 350 bar for filling trucks and buses. The price of hydrogen at ORLEN Benzina filling stations is CZK 278 per kilogram. The ORLEN Benzina hydrogen filling station was built with financial support from the Ministry of Transport of the Czech Republic under the Operational Programme called Transport. ORLEN Unipetrol operates five Toyota Mirai hydrogen cars in its company car fleet.
The ORLEN Unipetrol Group is the largest refining and petrochemical company in the Czech Republic. It focuses on crude oil processing and the production, distribution and sale of vehicle fuels and petrochemical products – particularly plastics and fertilisers. It belongs among the critical players in the Czech and Central European markets in all these areas. The ORLEN Unipetrol Group encompasses refineries and production plants in Litvínov and Kralupy nad Vltavou, Paramo in Pardubice, Spolana Neratovice, Otrokovice-based REMAQ, and two research centres in Litvínov and Brno. ORLEN Unipetrol also includes a network of ORLEN Benzina filling stations in the Czech Republic and ORLEN stations in Slovakia and Hungary. In 2005, ORLEN Unipetrol became a member of the ORLEN Group, the largest crude oil processor in Central Europe. ORLEN Unipetrol employs almost 6,000 people and is also active in corporate social responsibility. Therefore, it pays equal attention to initiatives that cultivate and support sustainable development, education, local communities, and the environment.
ORLEN Benzina is part of the ORLEN Unipetrol Group, which belongs to the multinational ORLEN Group and operates the largest network of petrol stations in the Czech Republic. In addition to EFECTA fuels with a purifying effect, ORLEN Benzina offers top-quality VERVA fuels and a wide range of refreshments within the STOP CAFE concept. ORLEN Benzina also issues its EASY and BUSINESS fuel cards and offers customers two mobile applications – the ORLEN Benzina loyalty app and the car care application, Mycí digi linka. ORLEN Benzina also provides power for alternative drives (LPG and CNG) and electricity. It also plans to launch hydrogen filling stations. In total, ORLEN Benzina operates 431 petrol stations in the Czech Republic and has a market share of 23 per cent. Consumer confidence was confirmed by the fact that ORLEN Benzina was awarded the title of the Most Trusted Brand in the Czech Republic for the fifth time in a row.