Zero Regio – A European Demonstration Project on Hydrogen-Based Mobility


In September 2009 I had pleasure to visit Hydrogen Fuel station in Frankfurt, Germany. This station situated in the Industrial Park Höchst, Frankfurt in Rhein-Main region. Dr. Ashok Kumar Rastogi, Project manager of Business Unit Energies & Utilities, has made an excursion for me to show and explain all units of hydrogen production chain – from the plant to direct customers.

Frankfurt Agip station

 Agip  service station, where both hydrogen gas and liquid can be refuelled. 




A large amount (over 30 mil. Nm3/yr) of hydrogen is available as a by-product of a chlorine plant at the Industrial Park Höchst. This is transported via a high pressure transport pipeline over a distance of 1.7 km to feed the dispensers at the Agip  service station on the south entrance of the industrial park.

The GH2 refuelling system consists of collection of by-product hydrogen, compression up to 1000 bar with a series of compressors including an ionic liquid compressor, pipeline transport of high pressure hydrogen to the service station, a cold fill and two dispensers (one for 350 bar and one for 700 bar refuelling) at the station. For the 700 bar dispenser communication between the vehicle and dispenser is employed in order to achieve quick refueling independent of the vehicle tank size. For passenger vehicles 3 minutes is the target refueling time. The LH2 refuelling system consists of a 10 m3 storage tank, a transfer pump and a dispenser. Liquid hydrogen is trucked in to fill the storage tank. This system is used to fill in hydrogen vehicles such as BMW’s outside the ZERO REGIO project, which activity focuses on hydrogen gas refuelling. Zero Regio has built one modern multi-energy public service station in Germany and Italy each. In addition to all the traditional fuels (petrol, diesel, bio-diesel, CNG, LPG etc.) hydrogen has been integrated in these stations. Both the stations are public. Both have small photovoltaic renewable energy supplying units as well. Zero Regio project aims at developing and demonstrating zero emission transport systems in European cities based on hydrogen as an alternative motor fuel. This is being achieved by building hydrogen infrastructure consisting of hydrogen production, compression, storage and distribution in public service stations and operating these for refuelling dedicated fleets of fuel cell vehicles deployed in real life applications in urban areas. Accompanying technical and socio-economic analyses will lead to methods for quicker market penetration of hydrogen and fuel cell technology in transport.

Franfurt fuel station hydrogen dispensers 

Hydrogen dispensers at the Agip service station in Frankfurt

Experience gained during the field tests and results obtained in this project will contribute to the objective of the European Commission of 5% substitution by hydrogen as an alternative motor fuel in the road transport sector by the year 2020. There are about 30 hydrogen stations in Germany now, some 25 more could be built in the next two years, with a national rollout by 2015.

Once again, I want to thank Mr. Rastogi for his warm reception and possibility to see real hydrogen fuel station at work.

Viacheslav Zgonnik



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