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Hydrogen – key technology of the future

  • OMV conducting intensive research on hydrogen as alternative fuel
  • Hydrogen already part of OMV’s everyday business
  • Around EUR 20 mn earmarked for hydrogen projects

OMV, the integrated, international oil and gas company, is preparing for future transport trends. In the coming years hydrogen is set to be an important alternative for drivers and car manufacturers.

Hydrogen is OMV’s first choice in the fuel technology of the future. The requisite infrastructure for running cars with fuel cells is already in place today and Austria’s first public hydrogen filling station opened in 2012 in Vienna. Other projects are coming up, with work starting this year on another hydrogen filling station in the Innsbruck area. OMV is a partner in the “H2 Mobility Initiative” in Germany, which should result in around 400 public hydrogen filling stations by 2023.

"We are addressing the challenges of climate change by researching new technologies", said OMV CEO Gerhard Roiss. "We want to contribute to building the bridge between the present situation and the EU’s climate targets. We need viable solutions for the market". Hydrogen is just what drivers and the car industry need – similar mileage to current fuels and short fuelling stops. "Major investment in research and development is still needed to bring hydrogen to market maturity. Here OMV plays an integral role in developing hydrogen technology", added CEO Gerhard Roiss.

Schwechat Refinery already produces around 100,000 tonnes of hydrogen per year using natural gas. Even when hydrogen is produced with fossil fuels, using fuel-cell vehicles still cuts CO2 emissions by around 50 percent.

A basic sum of EUR 20 mn for hydrogen research has been earmarked for the coming years as part of the OMV research budget.

As part of the research project "Power to Gas", OMV is working with partners on improving application options for electricity from renewable energy. A key area here is transforming electricity into hydrogen (Wind2Hydrogen). Electricity is used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen using electrolysis. The advantage here: it is easier to store electricity in the form of hydrogen – having gone through electrolysis – and transport it using the existing natural gas pipeline network. Appropriate research facilities will be set up in the coming months. "Power to Gas plants offer multiple benefits", said Horst Steinmüller, Head of the Energy Institute at Linz University: "New opportunities in transporting and storing energy, less pressure on extending the power grid and a positive impact on mobility."

Preparing for the longer-term future is also a priority for OMV. Research is being conducted with experts at the Christian Doppler Laboratory at Cambridge University on producing hydrogen using water and sunlight. With this research OMV is making an important contribution to a future powered by renewable energy.

Background information:

OMV Aktiengesellschaft
With Group sales of EUR 42.41 bn and a workforce of around 27,000 employees in 2013, OMV Aktiengesellschaft is Austria’s largest listed industrial company. The Exploration and Production business segment has a strong base in Romania and Austria and a growing international portfolio. 2013 daily production stood at approx. 288,000 boe/d. OMV operates a gas pipeline network in Austria and gas storage facilities in Austria and Germany with a capacity of 2.6 bcm. In Refining and Marketing OMV has an annual refining capacity of 17.4 mn tonnes and as of the end of 2013 approximately 4,200 filling stations in 11 countries including Turkey.