Poland’s state oil giant PKN Orlen has announced plans for the development of nine “hydrogen hubs” – clusters of facilities linked to the production and distribution of the low-carbon fuel – in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The facilities will run on renewable energy sources and convert municipal waste as part of the company’s efforts to reach carbon neutrality. It is also planning a network of 102 hydrogen refuelling stations in the three Central European countries.
Last year, Orlen announced its “Hydrogen Eagle” investment project in a bid to enter the growing European hydrogen fuel market. The company now plans to create five hubs in Poland, three in the Czech Republic and one in Slovakia, says Grzegorz Jóźwiak, who oversees the development of alternative fuels at Orlen.
Writing in the firm’s in-house newspaper, Magazyn GO!, he says that Orlen aims to reach an annual hydrogen production capacity of around 50,000 tonnes by 2030. Its hubs will be powered by photovoltaics and onshore and offshore wind farms, including by Orlen’s flagship Baltic Power 1.2 GW offshore wind farm, which it will begin constructing in 2024.
At the hubs in Płock and Ostrołęka in Poland and in the Czech Republic, Orlen will invest in facilities to convert municipal waste into zero- and low-emission hydrogen.
Its international network of hydrogen refuelling stations for individual, public and cargo transport will include 54 in Poland and 22 and 26 respectively in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Orlen’s CEO, Daniel Obajtek, said in June that he hoped the hub venture would position Orlen as “Central Europe’s leader in hydrogen fuel”. Entering the market of sustainable hydrogen production would provide “competitive advantages in the retail, refining and power generation business in the decades to come”, he added.