PitPoint realises new hydrogen filling station

The new station in Delfzijl will supply two hydrogen buses with green hydrogen


This month, PitPoint is realising a hydrogen filling station at Chemie Park Delfzijl. The station will supply two buses from Qbuzz in Groningen and Drenthe with green hydrogen from AkzoNobel. The project is a pilot and will run for a period of five years, and contributes to the development of the hydrogen economy in the Northern Netherlands. This unique pilot is the result of the cooperation between private and public parties. Last week, a first trial refueling of one of the hydrogen buses was completed successfully. In the coming weeks, the finishing touches are made such as the finetuning of the station. 

From 2030, all public transport buses in The Netherlands must be emission-free. Therefore, a pilot has been established in the Northern Netherlands with two hydrogen buses from Belgian manufacturer Van Hool. From December, Qbuzz will use these buses on regional lines in Groningen and Drenthe. To enable this pilot, PitPoint will open a hydrogen filling station at Chemie Park Delfzijl. PitPoint will also be responsible for the operation and maintenance of this new filling station. The compressor system for the hydrogen station is supplied by Resato International.

Green hydrogen

The PitPoint filling station and the two Qbuzz buses will use green hydrogen, which is unique for the Netherlands. AkzoNobel produces chlorine, amongst other things, and hydrogen is a by-product of the production process. Since the company uses wind power for the production process, the by-product is truly ‘green’. Groningen Seaports installed an innovative hydrogen pipeline, made of synthetic material, between the AkzoNobel chlorine plant and the PitPoint hydrogen filling station.

Clean buses

The development of public transport based on green hydrogen is part of the plan by Noordelijke Innovation Board. The board promotes the development of a green hydrogen economy in the Northern Netherlands. Moreover, the hydrogen buses are in line with the policy and intention of the provinces of Groningen and Drenthe to ensure that buses become cleaner.

Both provinces have voiced the ambition to switch to clean, non-CO2 emitting buses in the near future. According to the provinces, the North is ideal for a pilot on hydrogen buses because the buses in this region travel long distances, making it difficult to use battery-powered electric buses. The OV-bureau  (public transport office) for Groningen Drenthe plans to operate twenty hydrogen buses in the (near) future.

The involved parties

This unique pilot project was instated thanks to the cooperation between the OV-bureau for Groningen Drenthe, Qbuzz, AkzoNobel, Groningen Seaports, PitPoint, the Ministry of Infrastructure, Public Works and Water Management, and the province of Groningen. This consortium was made possible, in part, through the financial support from the European public-private partnership, Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH-JU), under the High V.LO-City flag.

The project in Groningen is the fourth in Europe related to High V.LO-City, involving hydrogen buses from Van Hool, and follows in the footsteps of Aberdeen, Antwerp and San Remo. Hydrogen buses already operated in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, prior to this. Pilots involving hydrogen buses are also underway in Rotterdam and North Brabant.

European commitment TO H2

The European Union considers hydrogen a suitable fuel for improving the sustainability of buses. The EU is making tens of millions of euros available in the coming years in the context of the FCH-JU. In principle, financial support will be made available to upgrade to one hundred hydrogen buses in the Netherlands, distributed between three regions. This funding will be used to take the next steps in the commercial utilisation of these non-polluting buses.

This is PitPoint’s second proprietary hydrogen station. In April 2017, PitPoint acquired it’s first hydrogen filling station which is located in Antwerp. You can find more information on PitPoint and hydrogen here.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) for the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Technology Initiative under grant agreement n°278192.