Swiss hydropower plant to power 2.5MW hydrogen production facility

Image credit: Axpo

Swiss renewable energy companies Axpo and Rhiienergie are building a 2.5MW hydrogen production facility at the 18MW Reichenau hydropower plant in Domat/Ems, Switzerland.

After completing the building permit process, Axpo and Rhiienergie began work on the hydrogen production facility at the Reichenau hydropower plant on 23 January 2023. The hydrogen plant is scheduled to go into operation in the fall of 2023.

The hydrogen installation will be connected to the Reichenau hydropower plant, in which Axpo holds a majority share. The Reichenau plant, on the Rhine River, was completed in 1962.

Axpo and Rhiienergie are jointly investing over CHF8 million ($8.7 million) in the facility.

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Using Swiss hydropower, the facility will produce about 350 tonnes of green hydrogen annually. This corresponds to about 1.5 million litres of diesel fuel that the Canton of Grisons and the neighboring Rhine valley will be able to save. The green hydrogen will be delivered directly to filling stations from the production facility. Alternatively, the hydrogen can also make a contribution to the decarbonisation of industrial operations.

Green hydrogen, which is produced with power from renewable energy sources, is considered a pillar of the energy transition. Axpo has defined the expansion of this area as a strategic growth field. The hydrogen plant at the Reichenau power plant is one of many facilities that Axpo is planning at run-of-river hydropower plants in Switzerland.

The use of hydrogen as a fuel is not widespread in Switzerland. A filling station network is being developed and the first hydrogen-fueled trucks are already on the road. The filling station network, as well as the Swiss hydrogen fleet, will grow strongly in the upcoming years, Axpo said.

Switzerland is striving to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. To reach this goal, the country must strongly reduce its CO2 emissions. As a climate-friendly fuel, green hydrogen plays a key role in this decarbonisation strategy – particularly in the area of freight transport.

Axpo says it is Switzerland’s largest producer of renewable energy. The company owns or co-owns about 60 hydroelectric power plants.

Switzerland has about 1,500 hydroelectric power stations in total.

Rhiienergie is an energy supply company that provides electricity products and a support program for energy efficiency.

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