Contracts have been signed for the construction of two new hydrogen (H2) refuelling stations in the Rhineland, Germany.

The stations will be developed for Regionalverkehr Köln GmbH (RVK) in 2019. One on its premises in the Rhine-Sieg district (Meckenheim) and one in the Rhine-Bergisch district (Wermelskirchen).

A consortium of partners comprising Linde, Framatome, EMS and the Forschungszentrum Jülich is responsible for their construction and evaluation. Each facility can supply up to 20 environmentally-friendly H2 buses with a total of 500kg of H2 on a daily basis.

The project will be funded under the BIC H2 heading (Buses, Infrastructure, Cologne region) by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) through the NIP 2 programme.

The main focus is the procurement and the deployment of a large fleet of fuel cell hybrid buses for public transport and the development of an appropriate H2 infrastructure in the Cologne region. The aim is to markedly reduce harmful emissions such as CO2 NOx, particulate matter and noise.

The procurement of 30 fuel cell hybrid buses by the RVK sends a clear signal to the industry and the political sphere that transport operators want this technology as an alternative to diesel buses and perceive it as suitable for daily use. This is because among other reasons, fuel cell hybrid buses offer high ranges, short refuelling times and flexibility. These features enable them to come close to the advantages of conventional diesel technology. Public transport companies can in this way continue to offer their services at the usual standard of quality and without loss of productivity.

Meckenheim

The H2 refuelling station in Meckenheim will be constructed by a consortium led by Framatome (formerly AREVA). At this facility buses will be refuelled in an energy-efficient and simple way via excess current from innovative supply units.

Framatome brings its considerable years of experience in the energy sector, in H2 generation and the implementation of innovative projects to the table. EMS from Jülich is responsible for H2 storage. H2 will be stored in light, high-strength carbon fibre pressure vessels. EMS is supplying two storage systems for the current project, which provide more than one tonne of H2 at a pressure of 500 bar. The individual pressure containers as well as the overall system are to be approved this year.

The other partners come from Cologne and the surrounding area: the engineering firm EMCEL for licensing issues, ANLEG as specialists for high-pressure gas facilities and WEMA for construction and operation of the refuelling station. This involvement of regional companies secures short routes.

Wermelskirchen

The RVK’s H2 refuelling station in Wermelskirchen will be built by Linde. The gas and engineering company is among the pioneers of H2 mobility and has broad expertise in the construction of H2 stations.

Nevertheless, the Rhine-Bergisch district facility will constitute a first: never before has this new storage technology developed by Linde been deployed. Thanks to the new steady pressure accumulators, now even greater amounts of H2 can be supplied in an even shorter time. This provides a substantial advantage to larger vehicles in particular.