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Energy Ministry budgets NIS 100 million to advance hydrogen tech

Pilot hydrogen filling station to be opened in northern Israel, followed by commercial station next year

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

A hydrogen-fueled truck on the road. (audioundwerbung, at iStock by Getty Images)
A hydrogen-fueled truck on the road. (audioundwerbung, at iStock by Getty Images)

The Energy Ministry is planning to spend NIS 100 million ($32 million) over five years on a national institute for hydrogen production and storage, the ministry’s chief scientist told a renewable energy conference in Eilat on Thursday.

It has also established a pilot hydrogen filling station at Kfar Hassidim in northern Israel, the ministry announced at the confab, attended by more than 700 people from the government and the energy industry.

The lessons learned there will be incorporated into the first commercial hydrogen filling station for trucks, to be opened next year in the Haifa Bay area, also in the north, by the Sonol gas company and the Bazan oil conglomerate, with government support.

Draft regulations for using hydrogen in the transportation sector will be published soon and regulations for hydrogen gas stations are in the works.

Bazan is also working with the Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative on a solar field that will be used to create “green” hydrogen generated from renewable sources.

Shlomi Bason, Bazan’s CEO, said that with more hydrogen filling stations, more hydrogen-fueled vehicles would enter the Israeli market.

A hydrogen filling station, in Hunzenschwil, Switzerland, on October 10 2020. (Lucia Gajdosikova, iStock at Getty Images)

“Car manufacturers are going there, the market wants it, it’s improving everything,” he said.

While cars were moving toward electrification by batteries, “the future is hydrogen-based cars,” claimed Dr. Amichai Baram, Sonol’s VP for operations and engineering.

Hydrogen-fueled trains in Israel are also on the horizon, he predicted.

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