MOSCOW (MRC) -- In Poland, oil refiner Polski Koncern Naftowy ORLEN S.A is set to build a hydrogen hub in Wloclawek by the end of 2021, ultimately producing up to 600 kg of purified hydrogen per hour, according to BIOENERGY.
The project provides for the construction of a plant for the production of fuel-cell grade hydrogen, logistics infrastructure, and hydrogen refuelling stations.
Initially, the fuel will be distributed primarily for use in public and freight transport. Furthermore, PKN Orlen has already signed several agreements with local governments as potential customers for the hydrogen.
"We are well aware of the challenges posed by the global trend of new mobility, so our strategy provides for constant development of alternative fuels and low-emission technologies. We are confident hydrogen will be an important transport fuel in the future, so we are ramping up our work in this field. Our goal is to strengthen our leadership position in the demanding hydrogen market. Slated for completion next year and sited in Wloclawek, the project will be a milestone enabling us to successfully compete with the biggest players in the region. As a next step, we plan to build a similar hub at PKN Orlen’s refinery in Plock. A hydrogen purification plant is also being built at our biorefinery in Trzebinia", said Daniel Obajtek, President of the PKN Orlen Management Board.
PKN Orlen will announce a tender procedure for the hydrogen hub, to be sited at the ANWIL plant in Wloclawek, by the end of August. Initially, the plant will run at a capacity of ca. 170 kg per hour, but its modular design will allow it to flexibly increase production in line with growth in demand.
The feedstock that will undergo purification at the Wloclawek plant is produced in an environmentally friendly process of brine electrolysis as a by-product of chlorine extraction and so far has been used by the ammonia unit.
The choice of a hydrogen purification method is being analysed with the project’s technical adviser. The project will comprise a hydrogen purification plant, infrastructure for loading the fuel on rail tank cars and trucks, trailers, a hydrogen fuel supply system, and two refuelling stations.
Initially, the hydrogen undergoing purification at the Wloclawek site will be distributed primarily for use in public and freight transport, including rail transport.
The company has already signed Letters of Intent (LoI) on collaboration in advancing hydrogen-powered public transport services with the Metropolitan Association of Upper Silesia and Dabrowa Basin, Krakowski Holding Komunalny, Miejskie Przedsiebiorstwo Komunikacyjne of Krakow, and the City of Plock. Further agreements are being negotiated with other municipalities.
Also, the company has signed an LoI with PESA Bydgoszcz to develop a hydrogen-powered locomotive, to be used by PKN Orlen for logistics purposes.
As the market expands, the hydrogen fuel will also be used in passenger cars and coaches. In the long term, the company intends to supply its hydrogen for applications in ships and ferries and for stationary applications, such as heating. The hydrogen could also be sold to third parties for resale in other markets, for instance, food or metallurgical industries.
In addition to the hydrogen hub in Wloclawek and a similar project planned in Plock, the company is also developing hydrogen technologies at its Orlen Poludnie biorefinery in Trzebinia, where first fuel-cell grade hydrogen is to be produced in 2021.
Investment in infrastructure for hydrogen-fuelled transport fits into the European strategy of sustainable development and is a response to the EU’s environmental target of a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 2030 compared with 2005.
In common with electromobility and next-generation biofuels, hydrogen has been hailed as a fuel of the future that can provide a real tool to meet the EU’s environmental targets.
As MRC reported earlier, Honeywell has recently announced that PKN Orlen plans to use the UOP Q-Max and Phenol 3G technologies to produce 200,000 metric tons per year of phenol at its facility in Plock, Poland.
Phenol is one of the main feedstocks for the production of bisphenol A (BPA), which, in its turn, is used for the production of polycarbonate (PC).
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated consumption of polycarbonate (PC) granules (excluding imports and exports to/from Belarus) rose in January-May 2020 by 19% year on year to 38,900 tonnes (32,700 tonnes a year earlier).