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ORLEN’s H2 mobility project wins grant from the European Union

The Clean Cities Hydrogen mobility in Poland project implemented by ORLEN has been backed by the largest grant ever awarded by the European Union for H2 innovation, totaling €62 MM of non-repayable funding. The EU funds will support an ambitious agenda to erect 16 H2 refueling stations available to the public across various regions of Poland and to establish a green renewable H2 production facility, leveraging an advanced water electrolysis process powered by renewable energy.

The European Commission has unveiled the selection results of the latest call for proposals under the CEF Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Facility, launched by the European Executive Agency for Climate, Environment, and Infrastructure (CINEA). A sum of €424 MM has been disbursed across 42 projects, with H2 refueling infrastructure initiatives claiming total grants in excess of €120 MM. The project championed by ORLEN has received half of that amount, marking a historic milestone as the largest grant ever bestowed under the Connecting Europe Facility to advance the H2 economy.

“Central to the transition process is the advancement of alternative fuels, including H2. We can foresee its increasingly prominent role across the industrial sector, heavy haulage and public transport. Zero-emission public mobility will be especially crucial in large municipalities, which – fortified by funding from the National Environmental Protection and Water Management Fund and EU facilities – are becoming ever more eager to embrace H2-powered vehicles. This is why we’re resolute in our mission to spearhead this form of mobility in partnership with local governments across Poland. The grant we have just received demonstrates that we’re on the right track, resonating with the blueprint endorsed by EU authorities,” says Grzegorz Jóźwiak, Head of the H2 Technology and Synthetic Fuels Office.

The EU funding is to enable the third phase of ORLEN’s ‘Clean Cities – H2 mobility in Poland’ project. As part of the first two phases, ORLEN is deploying H2 infrastructure comprised of eight refueling stations across the country plus an automotive-grade H2 production plant based in Włocławek. These investments had already been backed by funding of $17.3 MM under the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility. Drawing on those funds, ORLEN has launched H2 fuel supplies for public vehicles in Poznań and is testing a pilot H2 refueling station in Katowice, with more such facilities in the pipeline (in Piła, Warsaw, Gorzów Wielkopolski, Kraków, Bielsko-Biała and Włocławek). They will be open to the general public to fuel city buses, private cars and trucks.

As part of the third phase, ORLEN is primed to expand Poland’s H2 infrastructure with an additional 16 publicly available refueling stations located in various parts of the country along the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). In addition, it will establish another automotive-grade H2 production plant in Szczecin, relying on the same water electrolysis process powered by renewables.

Integral to the ORLEN Group’s overarching H2 Strategy, this bold foray into H2-fueled mobility crystallizes the Group’s response to challenges associated with the energy transition and quest for green solutions. As an alternative to conventional fuels, H2 is now a key element of the paradigm shift in the transport sector's decarbonization narrative.

ORLEN’s plan is to build an international network of over 100 H2 refueling stations spanning Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia to serve private, public, cargo, road and rail transport by 2030. H2 will be delivered through a European chain of H2 hubs powered by renewable energy and innovative facilities converting municipal waste into zero- and low-carbon H2. The ORLEN Group’s total electrolyzer capacities are to reach about 1 GW by 2030, which, combined with the waste-to-H2 projects, will allow it to produce more than 130,000 tpy of renewable H2 by the end of this decade.