Axpo to launch hydrogen initiative at Swiss hydro plant

26 April 2021

Axpo has announced details of a hydrogen production facility at the Eglisau-Glattfelden hydropower plant in Switzerland, the first of several that Axpo said it will commission in the coming years.

Scheduled to go onstream in autumn 2022, the 2.5MW hydrogen production facility will produce about 350 tonnes of green hydrogen annually. If demand for hydrogen grows as expected, plant capacity can be doubled to 5MW. Direct connection of the production facility to the power plant will ensure climate neutral hydrogen production. Preparations for the official approval process will commence in a matter of days.

Axpo began planning a hydrogen production facility at the same power plant in 2015. However, the project was not pursued further because hydrogen sales volumes remained below expectations. Guy Bühler, Head of Hydrogen at Axpo, explained: "Since then, the fight against climate change has become significantly more important, while hydrogen has proven to be a suitable energy source for de-carbonisation in the mobility and industry sectors."

As the mobility sector’s hydrogen eco-system continues to develop in Switzerland, Axpo is teaming with Hydrospider AG to market the hydrogen produced at the Eglisau-Glattfelden power plant, delivering the hydrogen directly from the production facility to a network of filling stations. Today, there are already more than 50 trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cells on the road in Switzerland. According to Hydrospider, there will be more than 1600 by the year 2026. The network of hydrogen filling stations will also grow significantly in the next two years, from a current six to approximately 50.

Having recently established its own hydrogen business, Axpo said it intends to take a leading role in the transition to CO2-free energy supply. The company aims to develop projects with a combined capacity of 5 megawatts by 2022. More plants like the Eglisau-Glattfelden power plant are in the planning stages.

Picture of Eglisau-Glattfelden power plant by Hansueli Krapf. Wikimedia Commons 

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