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Hydrogen on the road

Hydrogen is the key to unlocking the future of transport. Its energy can be made available through the tried-and-tested fuel cell technology to fuel an environmentally friendly vehicle generation. Shaping tomorrow’s mobility and providing alternative fuels – this has been an OMV mission from the very beginning.

At OMV filling stations, the future has already arrived. While the majority of drivers are still filling their cars with classic gasoline or diesel fuels, drivers of innovative vehicles are coming to OMV for tomorrow’s fuels: If you take a look around at OMV’s filling stations, you will observe that several hydrogen vehicles fill up there.

Together with its partners, OMV is expediting the provision of hydrogen filling stations for Austria and Germany for a future of emission-free mobility. The automotive and energy industries cooperate closely on hydrogen filling stations to guarantee the optimal parallel establishment of hydrogen supply and demand.

As early as 2009, OMV opened the first hydrogen filling station in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. OMV is part of the H2 MOBILITY initiative whose aim is to build an extensive public filling station network in Germany until 2023. Today, OMV owns several stations operated by H2 Mobility in Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria.

In Austria, OMV opened the first public hydrogen filling station in Vienna in 2012. Further stations started operation in Innsbruck, Asten, Graz and Wiener Neudorf.

Hydrogen is tomorrow‘s fuel. But how is it used to power a vehicle? In a fuel cell, hydrogen atoms are split. The electrons are used to produce electricity. The “waste product” in this chemical reaction is water vapor.

Fueling vehicles solely through water and sun remains a challenge of the future. However, it is not as far from becoming a reality as one might think. Using renewable energy sources for mobility is inevitable and hydrogen is the fuel of tomorrow. OMV is researching the production of hydrogen through solar energy. But how does that work in a vehicle?

In hydrogen vehicles, a fuel cell is used. It is twice as efficient as a combustion engine, meaning that only half the amount of energy is needed to achieve the same performance. What’s more, CO2 emissions are reduced by 50% compared with diesel- or gasoline-powered engines. “Green hydrogen” even achieves a reduction of almost 100%.

Fuel cells can easily be produced serially. Every single fuel cell consists of two plates which are separated by a membrane. Oxygen from the surrounding air is entered on one side, hydrogen on the other. The positive particles of the hydrogen atoms are able to pass through the barrier. Not so the negatively charged ones. Since atoms seek balance of charges, the electrons have to take a detour. This movement creates electric energy. The final products of the chemical reaction are thus electricity for propulsion and H2O, i.e. pure water in the form of water vapor. It is the only emission of this miniature power plant.