Grupa LOTOS and LOTOS Paliwa will obtain EU funding for their project to construct hydrogen (H2) purification and distribution units and two H2 refuelling points (in Gdańsk and Warsaw) as part of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).

The project, worth almost €10m, is to be placed in service in 2021.

The ‘Pure H2’ project submitted by LOTOS was placed on the list of projects approved by EU member states in late September and supported as part of the CEF instrument (specifically in the 2017 CEF Transport Blending MAP Call II). This means that almost €2m, i.e. approximately 20% of the project budget, will be provided by the EU.

The objective of the project is to launch the sale of ultra-high purity H2 (99.999%) which could be used primarily as a fuel in public transport vehicles. H2 allows vehicles to cover the distance of as much as 450 km without the need for additional charging. The use of H2 also makes it possible to spend less on additional power grid infrastructure.

The project envisages the construction of a H2 purification unit at the Gdańsk refinery and a H2 sale and distribution station in the immediate vicinity of the LOTOS Group’s plant, as well as two refuelling points (in Gdańsk and Warsaw).

The company considers the project a long-term one, as confirmed by the letters of intent signed between the company and the municipalities of Gdynia and Wejherowo. Both documents provide for the supply of H2 to power buses with fuel cells.

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Source: LOTOS

At present, the Grupa LOTOS refinery in Gdańsk produces about 13 tonnes of H2 per hour, and its H2 output will exceed 16.5 tonnes per hour once the EFRA Project is completed. The average passenger car consumes 1 kg of H2 per 100 km, while during the entire year a H2 bus consumes the amount of H2 produced by Grupa LOTOS units within one hour. Those quantities refer to H2 that has not yet been purified – hence the need for a purification unit.

Purified H2 can be used not only in road transport, but also in IT, medicine and the food industry. As at today, ultra-pure H2 still needs to be imported and is therefore not widely used.

A multi-project strategy

Pure H2 is not the only project to be financed under the CEF programme. Since the launch of Grupa LOTOS’s new strategy for 2017–2022, the company has been participating in four large projects financed under the Connecting Europe Facility.

Since 2017, Grupa LOTOS and Gaz-System have been preparing a feasibility study concerning the construction of a small-scale LNG terminal in Gdańsk and the construction of innovative small LNG bunkering vessels. The expected completion time is 36 months. The EU funding for the project will amount to more than EUR 1m, or 60% of the project budget.

LOTOS is also actively engaged in other projects related to the sale of new generation alternative fuels, such as CNG and LNG. In January 2018, Grupa LOTOS and Remontowa LNG Systems signed a letter of intent regarding the construction of a pilot system for LNG distribution. The agreement provides for the design, construction and testing of a pilot LNG docking station. The main task of the station will be to maintain safe process parameters of intermodal, cryogenic LNG tanks over long periods of time. Remontowa LNG Systems has developed a concept for using LNG containers to bunker ships through a complex system of valves and pumps set in a frame the size a 40 ft container. The project will receive funding under the CEF programme.