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PKN ORLEN to invest 1.6 billion euros in hydrogen development

Poland’s energy group PKN ORLEN will spend 7.4 billion zlotys [approximately 1.6 billion euros] by 2030 on low- and zero-carbon hydrogen development projects based on renewable energy sources and municipal waste conversion technology.

The ORLEN Group Hydrogen Strategy will be implemented in four key areas: mobility, refining and petrochemicals, research and development and industry and energy.

As a result, ten hydrogen hubs will be developed by the end of the decade, with motorists in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia provided with access to a network of over 100 hydrogen refuelling stations.

“We need to maximise profits and dynamically grow our new business lines to drive our transformation into a multi-utility group,” said  Daniel Obajtek, President of the PKN ORLEN Management Board. “This is the only way we can effectively respond to the challenges facing the fuel and energy sector. By 2030, we plan to invest over 7 billion zlotys in projects ensuring nearly half of the hydrogen produced by the ORLEN Group will be low- and zero-carbon. This would help us reduce CO2 emissions by 1.6 million tonnes.”

“We already have strong capabilities in developing hydrogen technologies, backed by our vast experience in the field. And the implementation of our hydrogen strategy will position us as a partner of choice in building a hydrogen economy in Central and Eastern Europe.”

By the end of the decade, the ORLEN Group aims to install approximately 0.5 gigawatts (GW) of new hydrogen production capacity using renewable energy sources and municipal waste conversion. To that end, the Group is set to build a total of ten hydrogen hubs, mainly in Poland, but also in the Czech Republic. The hubs will produce some 60 kilotons (kt) of low- and zero-carbon hydrogen per year. By using carbon storage and utilisation technology, the Group will be able to lower the carbon intensity of a further 120 kt of hydrogen produced by its facilities in Płock. As a result of these projects, almost half of the hydrogen used by the ORLEN Group should come from zero- or low-carbon sources in 2030.

The Group deployed its first hydrogen hub in Trzebinia in 2021, which makes grey hydrogen for transport and is to ultimately produce low-carbon hydrogen from renewable energy sources. Another hub is being developed in Włocławek, which is due to start producing green hydrogen in the second half of 2023. Two years later, a hub in Płock will be launched to make green hydrogen for industrial and transport applications.

By 2030, the Group is also set to launch 100 public access hydrogen refuelling stations with the necessary logistics infrastructure, including 57 in Poland, around 28 in Slovakia and approximately 26 in the Czech Republic. Facilities to produce automotive-grade hydrogen will also be built to provide a source of supply for refuelling stations. In its strategy, the Group targets production of 19 kt or more of hydrogen for transport applications, enough to power some 1,000 buses and 160 trains a year.

The ORLEN Group has already taken steps to use hydrogen in urban public transport and rail transport by signing letters of intent to collaborate with 17 municipalities and four companies in Poland as potential customers for its hydrogen. These partnerships will help to locate projects in areas offering the greatest potential for the development of hydrogen-powered transport.

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