Hydrogen-electric transport is increasingly playing a role when it comes to sustainable mobility. Besides passenger cars, this is clearly the case in heavy transport, such as busses, trucks and shipping. KWR has now decided to switch over to hydrogen-electric company cars. To this end, in July 2019, we set up a hydrogen filling station at our site. KWR is among the first to do so in the Netherlands.
When we think of electric transport, the first thing that comes to mind are vehicles that carry a large battery and an electric motor on board. Hydrogen-electric vehicles are also powered by an electric motor, but the electricity is generated through a so-called fuel cell which is fuelled by hydrogen. Hydrogen-electric vehicles, for both personal and goods transport, are gradually coming onto the market. But hydrogen fuelling facilities are still rare in the Netherlands, even if many are being built throughout the country under the stimulus of the national government. There are currently still no public hydrogen filling stations in the Nieuwegein area however. So, to get going with hydrogen-electric cars right away, KWR decided to install a filling station on-site to meet its own needs.
Sun and wind as the basis for green hydrogen
Hydrogen is not always green. We only refer to green hydrogen when it is produced using sustainable sources of energy, such as the wind and sun. The process involves using electrolysis to decompose water into oxygen and hydrogen. The result is not only a very clean source of energy, but also a contribution to the storage of peak supplies of electricity generated by the wind and sun – which moreover relieves the load on the electrical grid.
KWR research into water and energy
In collaboration with guest professor Ad van Wijk (Future Energy Systems, TU Delft) and a consortium of several companies, KWR has worked for many years on the research and development of sustainable solutions for the storage of energy, both in the form of heat and of hydrogen. Ultimately, this kind of research should result in practical applications – after all, ‘bridging science to practice’ is KWR’s motto. The switch to hydrogen-electric vehicles thus represents a logical first step. ‘We believe that the storage of energy in the form of heat and green hydrogen will be playing a crucial role in the near future. And we are now implementing the practice in-house,’ says Dragan Savic, KWR’s CEO. ‘This fits in perfectly with our vision of being a centre for water and water-related innovations.’