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The process is progressing well.

Step by step to the hydrogen filling station

Dübendorf, St. Gallen und Thun, 28.10.2019 - Hydrogen is seen as a promising solution for mobility without fossil fuels. But a complete network of gas stations is still missing. There is a reason for this: The approval process for the planning and construction of hydrogen filling stations is still very confusing, because experience is largely lacking. In order to clarify this issue, Empa has developed, in collaboration with various organizations, an approval guideline for filling station manufacturers, authorities and specialist agencies, thus paving the way for a national network of filling stations hydrogen.

There are currently two hydrogen filling stations for passenger cars in Switzerland. One is in Empa's "move" mobility demonstrator in Dübendorf, the other in Hunzenschwil in the canton of Aargau. The two service stations are the result of collaboration between Empa, the Federal Office of Energy (SFOE), "H2 Energy" and Hyundai. “The development of these first hydrogen filling stations in Switzerland has shown that the approval process and the development of legal provisions in this area constitute a challenge both for filling station planners and for the authorities,” explains Christian Bach, head of the Empa Automotive Powertrain Technologies laboratory.

This is why Christian Bach and his team have developed, in collaboration with the competent bodies and authorities, a guide for the construction of hydrogen filling stations which the Swiss Standardization Association (SNV) has recently published under the Swiss reference SNG 10000:2019 and distributed free of charge through its online store. In a guide the directive specifies step by step which authorities and organizations must be involved in the approval process in Switzerland and what must be taken into account during planning and construction. It also provides an overview of relevant national and international laws, guidelines and standards. The guidelines are informal in nature and are not legally binding.

Easier to build a hydrogen filling station

“With this guide, we want to support filling station builders and authorities and thus simplify the planning and construction of hydrogen filling stations,” explains Christian Bach. For many years, the mobility researcher and his team have been working on the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies and on the potential for a significant reduction in CO2 emissions from road traffic. In addition to electromobility, the focus is on hydrogen and synthetic fuels. Given the continued expansion of photovoltaics in Switzerland, these forms of mobility are expected to play an increasingly important role in the future. Hydrogen is also a central part of the new energy strategy, as it offers the possibility of temporarily transferring excess electricity from hydroelectric plants or solar power plants - which is produced in large quantities during the summer months - to other energy sectors such as mobility. This electricity is transformed into hydrogen by electrolysis and is then available for refueling fuel cell vehicles; At the same time, it is the first step in so-called “power-to-gas” technology.

The gas station of the future

Since 2015, Empa has operated the "move" research and demonstration platform in collaboration with partners from the public sector and industry. Designed as the charging and refilling station of the future, the "move" allows you to refuel electric, hydrogen and gas vehicles and explore the advantages and disadvantages of these three modes of mobility.

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