Seven Swiss companies have formed an association with the goal to jointly develop a nationwide network of hydrogen (H2) refuelling stations in Switzerland.

With their infrastructure they intend to set a basis for the operation of zero emission fuel cell vehicles – a pioneering step towards sustainable mobility in Switzerland. Within five years parts of their own fleet should be transitioned to fuel cell propulsion serving as a basis to run the infrastructure profitably and with no subsidies.

Founded on 17th May 2018, the association comprises Agrola AG, AVIA Association, Coop, Coop Mineraloel AG, the fenaco Cooperative, Migrol AG and the Federation of Migros Coopertives.

Jörg Ackermann, President of the newly-founded association and member of the Coop management board, “As founding members of the association, these seven companies wish to provide the initial impetus and contribute to the breakthrough of this pioneering technology for mobility applications.”

Due to the lack of a nationwide H2 refuelling network the technology so far has not been able to successfully make its way. The members of the association have decided to immediately trigger a change. Jointly they operate more than 1,500 traditional refuelling stations and over 1,700 heavy duty vehicles – an ideal constellation to establish a nationwide H2 infrastructure. The ambitious timeframe for completion is set for 2023.

In a press release, the new association said, “Compared to passenger cars, heavy duty trucks need 30 to 50 times more H2 per year and vehicle. It only takes 10 fuel cell-powered commercial vehicles to allow a H2 refuelling station to economically break even. Therefore, the association members are able to solve the chicken/egg dilemma on their own. In addition, they have established a policy to use green H2 only – H2 exclusively produced via electrolysis with renewable energy (e.g. at a Swiss hydro power plant).”

While several fuel cell passenger cars are already in the market, H2 lorries and buses will be launched soon at full speed worldwide.

“The current, traditional and well proven, nationwide network of petrol stations in Switzerland can be ideally complemented with H2 components and serve as a basis to refuel fuel cell-powered electric vehicles as well,” Daniel Hofer, CEO of Migrol AG and also President of the Swiss Oil Association, summarised.

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From left to right: Alexander Streitzig (Agrola AG), Patrick Staubli (AVIA Association), Jörg Ackermann (Coop), Roger Oser (Coop Mineraloel AG), Daniel Bischof (fenaco Cooperative), Dan iel Hofer (Migrol AG), Rainer Deutschmann (Federation of Migros Cooperatives)