Saudi Aramco, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, an integrated energy and chemicals company, and industrial gases company Air Products, Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA, have signed an agreement to jointly-build what is said to be the first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle fuelling station in Saudi Arabia. The collaboration will combine Air Products’ technological knowledge and experience in the field of hydrogen with Saudi Aramco’s industrial experience, facilities and R&D capabilities.
The companies stated that they will establish a pilot fleet of fuel cell vehicles for which high-purity compressed hydrogen will be dispensed at the new fuelling station. Air Products’ SmartFuel® hydrogen fuelling technology will be incorporated into the new station to supply the vehicles with compressed hydrogen.
Data collected during this pilot phase of the project is expected to provide valuable information for the assessment of future applications of this emerging transport technology in the local environment. The station is expected to be operational in the second quarter of 2019.
“Hydrogen fuel cells offer an effective means for the electrification of transport while maintaining easy, five minute refuelling and long driving ranges,” stated Ahmad O Al Khowaiter, Chief Technology Officer of Saudi Aramco. “The use of hydrogen derived from oil or gas to power fuel cell electric vehicles represents an exciting opportunity to expand the use of oil in clean transport.”
Dr Samir Serhan, Executive Vice President at Air Products, added, “We are honoured to work on another venture with Saudi Aramco to establish and develop a sustainable hydrocarbon-based hydrogen supply system for pilot demonstration of a fuel cell vehicle fleet in Saudi Arabia. It further illustrates our commitment to the Kingdom’s 2030 vision.”
The hydrogen refuelling station will be located within the grounds of Air Products’ Technology Center in the Dhahran Techno Valley Science Park, Dhahran. Toyota Motor Corporation will reportedly supply Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell Vehicles, a zero-emission vehicle which runs on compressed hydrogen gas and only emits water, for testing in the pilot project. Toyota has long maintained that hydrogen fuel cell technology can offer a sustainable zero emission solution across a broad spectrum of vehicle types.