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Photo: container where second life batteries are placed to accumulate surplus energy from the system, at the El Cisne service station.

The CSIC, together with the Aragonese company Zoilo Ríos, is promoting the project for the first hydrogen plant and hydrogen station for public use in Spain. The on-site green hydrogen generation and vehicle dispensing facility will be located at the El Cisne service station, at km 309 of the A-2 motorway (Madrid-Barcelona), next to the Zaragoza Logistics Platform (PLAZA), and will form part of the so-called Ebro Hydrogen Corridor.

A total of 6 million euros will be invested, of which 4.5 million euros will be provided by the CSIC, through the European NextGeneration funds of the TransEner platform, and 1.5 million euros by the company Zoilo Ríos, which will also provide the land for the facility and will be responsible for its maintenance.

The hydrogen plant will be able to generate green hydrogen from solar energy at the service station’s own facilities. To do so, it will use a novel technology of more efficient electrolysers, which allows the heat generated in the solar collectors to be harnessed. In addition to the production of hydrogen, photovoltaic energy will also be generated, which will help to cover the electricity demand of the service station. Surplus energy will be stored in second-life batteries so that it can be used at night.

The system will also have an intelligent control system that will manage energy flows and provide production and demand forecasts to ensure that hydrogen supply is always available and produced as economically, efficiently and sustainably as possible.

In this way, hydrogen can be supplied to fuel cell vehicles, including cars, buses and trucks. It will also be possible to refuel forklift trucks and fill tank cylinders.

The hydrogen station is expected to be operational in the first quarter of next year 2024 and can be tested until 2025. The aim is to “demonstrate the feasibility of hydrogen technology for vehicles under real operating conditions”. The estimated lifetime of the facility is 25 years. The project has already been declared of regional interest by the Governing Council. This will speed up the administrative timeframe for its start-up. In addition, a technical-economic evaluation will be carried out by the CSIC to assess “the viability of an emerging and novel hydrogen production technology”.

Intergia participates in the development of the project as the owner’s engineering company, providing consultancy and engineering services to accompany the implementation of the hydrogen station: sizing of installations, drafting of technical documentation, support during the process of obtaining licences, review of the documentation provided by suppliers, and coordination and monitoring of compliance with deadlines and technical specifications, among other tasks.