European Parliament approves gas reforms; MOL opens hydrogen plant

Our pick of the latest green hydrogen news you need to know

Plenary session of the European Parliament in Brussels (Source: Reuters/Yves Herman)

The European Parliament, with 447 votes in favor and 90 against, voted in April to adopt the hydrogen and decarbonized gas markets package aimed at delivering new directives and regulations on the gas and hydrogen markets.

The new regulation will strengthen mechanisms for fair pricing and stable energy supply, will allow states to limit gas imports from Russia and Belarus, and will introduce a joint gas purchasing system and a pilot project to bolster the EU’s hydrogen market for five years, the Parliament said.

The package also includes focus on increasing investment for hydrogen infrastructure, especially in coal regions, and promoting a transition to sustainable energy sources like biomethane and low-carbon hydrogen, it said.

Europe’s steel and chemical industries will be at the center of the European hydrogen market development, the lead member of parliament on the directive Jens Geier said.

"This will enable fossil fuels to be phased out of industry, secure European competitiveness, and preserve jobs in a sustainable economy. Unbundling rules for hydrogen network operators will correspond to existing best practices in the gas and electricity market,” he said.

MOL opens hydrogen plant

Hungarian oil company MOL Group has inaugurated a clean hydrogen plant in Százhalombatta, Hungary, capable of producing 1,600 tons of hydrogen a year using electricity from renewable sources, the company said in a statement.

The plant, the largest in Central and Eastern Europe, has 10 MW capacity electrolyzers from Plug Power and was the result of a 22-million-euro ($23.4-million) investment, the company said.

The technology will gradually replace the natural gas-based production process which currently accounts for a sixth of the MOL Group’s total carbon emissions, it said.

It will reduce the carbon footprint of MOL’s Danube Refinery by more than 25,000 tons of CO2 a year, MOL said.

The plant will begin producing hydrogen in the second half of 2024 and hydrogen produced at the facility will be used primarily in MOL’s own network for fuel production, it said.

The technology would be taken to two other of MOL’s fuel production units in order to make the fuel production process more sustainable at each of the MOL Group’s refineries, CEO of MOL Group József Molnár said during the plant’s inauguration.

“MOL Group has reached another milestone: we can now produce green hydrogen without producing any greenhouse gases,” Molnár said.

“Today, our new green hydrogen plant is only making MOL's industrial operations greener, but tomorrow it will offer solutions for the whole industry and hydrogen mobility.”  

Fortesque opens electrolyzer facility

Iron ore mining company Fortesque Metals Group officially opened its electrolyzer manufacturing facility in Gladstone, Queensland, Australia in April, the company said in a statement.

The 15,000 square meter factory is one of the first in the world to house an automated assembly line, Fortesque said.

The factory, which was constructed and fully commissioned in just over two years, will have the capacity to produce over 2 GW of Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrolyzer stacks every year.

The Gladstone facility, which produces electrolyzers designed by the Fortesque teams in Australia and the United States, establishes the company as a Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), Fortesque Energy CEO Mark Hutchinson said.

“This facility positions Fortescue and Gladstone as a large-scale producer of what will be an increasingly sought-after commodity in the global shift to green energy,” Hutchinson said.

“Not only are we developing a pipeline of green energy projects, we’re also now designing and manufacturing the specialized equipment and technology that will underpin our green hydrogen projects and that of others.”

The Australian government contributed AU$44 million ($22.2 million) to the project as well as providing an electrical sub-station, road networks, communications and local scheme water connections, and land allocation.

Air Products' refueling stations receive funding

Industrial gases company Air Products has received funding from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Protection, and Energy of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) to build two high-capacity, publicly accessible, low-carbon hydrogen refueling stations (HRS) in Duisburg and Meckenheim, the company said.

The size of the funding was not disclosed.

Air Products will build, own, and operate refueling stations which will serve a range of vehicles including medium- and heavy-duty classes, it said.

The company said it is planning to build large-scale, renewable hydrogen production facilities in Europe and will expand its European network of HRSs.

“This funding brings heavy-duty vehicle ready stations to the region. We are excited to be able to support first-mover truck operators looking to test and integrate hydrogen fuel cell trucks into their fleets,” said Jorg Homberg, General Manager for Air Products Germany.

The funding comes as part of NRW’s hydrogen roadmap which includes a target of 11,000 hydrogen fuel cell trucks, 3,800 fuel cell buses, and 200 hydrogen refueling stations in the region by 2030.

By Reuters Events Hydrogen