Reykjavik, Iceland saw the opening of Shell Hydrogen’s first branded hydrogen station on the 24th April 2003, located next to an existing shell site in Vesturlandsvegur in the east of the capital. The station was inaugurated by the Icelandic Minister of Industry and Commerce, Valgerdur Sverrisdottir. He refuelled the first fuel cell vehicle in the presence of Jeroen van der Veer, President of Royal Dutch Petroleum Company and Vice Chairman of the Committee of Managing Directors of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies.
"Today's event represents an historic milestone in the search for a sustainable energy future," said Mr van der Veer, speaking at the opening. "I am immensely proud to be here to underline Shell's commitment to making this project a success. For Shell, today's opening is an important stepping-stone along the long road to a commercially viable hydrogen future. We are in this for the long haul.
"We believe that hydrogen offers immense new business opportunities. We believe that it could play an important role in Shell's future growth and success. We are confident that in time, hydrogen can make a significant contribution to the global energy mix.
"But today is also an occasion for quiet reflection on the immense challenges that lie ahead. None of us expects overnight success. Despite the years of hard work, and the existence of hydrogen fuel cell technology for decades, we are in a real sense at the very beginning of the hydrogen economy story."
The station will initially provide a filling point for three DaimlerChrysler fuel cell buses to be operated commercially on the streets of Reykjavik by the local bus company, Straeto bs. However, the Icelandic authorities have already issued all the necessary permits for the station to operate on a commercial basis and it is expected that private fuel cell vehicles will appear on Reykjavik’s streets in due course.
The Icelandic Government is keen to promote renewable, environmentally-harmonious energy resources, such as hydrogen as a fuel. All of Iceland’s electricity is already generated renewably from hydroelectric and geothermal sources. Norsk Hydro supplied hydrogen generation technology for the station – machinery that uses electrolysis to produce hydrogen from water.
Shell and Norsk Hydro are partners in Icelandic New Energy Ltd, founded in 1999 to pursue the Icelandic Government’s vision. Representatives from the EU and the other partner companies in Icelandic New Energy Ltd (Vistorka, DaimlerChrysler and Skeljungur (Shell’s Icelandic distributors)) all attended the opening.
This is the first of a set of three openings scheduled for 2003 that will see Shell companies opening hydrogen filling points in Washinton DC and Tokyo. This sees Shell as the first global energy group to be involved in major demonstration projects in the three key hydrogen markets of N. America, Europe and Japan. Shell also has hydrogen/sustainable mobility projects in California, the Netherlands and Luxembourg and is involved in a stationary fuel cell project in Norway.
The operation of this Icelandic hydrogen station will provide valuable research material to an EU project looking at the socio-economic and environmental implications of changing the energy base of modern society.