Orlen plans to build hydrogen hub in Poland, Czech Rep, Slovakia

Leszek Szymański/PAP

Polish fuels group Grupa Orlen could become “the Central European leader in hydrogen fuels” on the back of plans to build a network of hydrogen hubs from renewable energy sources in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The plans also involve installations to process municipal waste into hydrogen as well as building over 100 hydrogen fuelling stations for private, public and transport vehicles.

Grupa Orlen said the project, dubbed HYDROGEN EAGLE, would enable the group to achieve a hydrogen production capacity of 50,000 tonnes per year by 2030.

"HYDROGEN EAGLE is a Grupa Orlen investment programme that involves building an international network of hydrogen hubs powered by renewable energy sources and innovative installations processing communal waste into zero- and low-emission hydrogen," PKN Orlen said on Monday. "Within the framework of the project, the construction of over 100 fuelling stations is planned for individual, public and cargo transport."

The company said the plans envisage building six new hydrogen hubs, three of which will be located in Poland, two in the Czech Republic and one in Slovakia, all powered by renewable energy. The project foresees the building of electrolysis installations, which will be supplied with electricity from Grupa Orlen wind farms in the Baltic Sea, and are planned to have a combined output of 250 MW.

The waste-to-hydrogen conversion plants are planned in Orlen's headquarter city of Plock, in central Poland, in Ostroleka, eastern Poland, and the Czech Republic. Of the fuelling stations, 54 will be in Poland, 22 in the Czech Republic and 26 in Slovakia.

"Thanks to brave, innovative investments in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Grupa Orlen has the opportunity to become a Central European leader in hydrogen fuels," PKN Orlen CEO Danial Obajtek was quoted as saying in a company press release. "We are aware that it is extremely important both from the business and the environmental point of view."

He added that hydrogen production would give Grupa Orlen "a competitive advantage in the retail, refining and energy fields" as well as enable a significant reduction in CO2 emissions, which Obajtek said would be an "important step towards achieving emission neutrality in 2050."