Alpiq, EW Höfe and SOCAR Energy Switzerland are looking into the feasibility of installing an electrolysis facility with a capacity of up to 10 MW in Freienbach, Switzerland.
Assuming the outcomes of technical and economic preliminary investigations are favorable and all shareholders give the green light, the facility is scheduled to start operating at the end of 2022 and, when completed, it will produce an annual output of around 1,000 to 1,200 tonnes of green hydrogen to enable zero-emission mobility.
In addition, the exhaust heat will be fed into the regional district heating network that is currently being established. The facility will thus set new standards in terms of overall efficiency and make an important contribution to Switzerland’s climate friendly energy supply.
At the existing former substation of EW Höfe in Freienbach, the three companies are evaluating whether it is possible to install Switzerland’s largest production facility for green hydrogen. With a capacity of up to 10 MW, it will be significantly larger than the current largest facility and will accordingly have a higher output.
The plan is to produce green hydrogen exclusively using electricity from renewable sources direct from the grid in Freienbach. It will be used primarily for mobility—specifically for heavy goods vehicles and applications where battery-electric systems are not a satisfactory solution. The green hydrogen produced in Freienbach could, among other applications, be used to power a maximum of approximately 200 fuel-cell electric commercial vehicles.
Compared to the use of diesel trucks, this would prevent the emission of some 14,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.
The planned hydrogen production facility will also play a pioneering role in other respects. The green hydrogen will be transported with zero emissions via a pipeline from the production facility at the existing former substation to the current Fuchsberg motorway service area, where SOCAR will install hydrogen fueling stations on both sides of the motorway.
By integrating the new facilities into existing infrastructure, forward-looking hydrogen technology can be efficiently and cost-effectively added to the current offering there. At the same time, a filling station is to be built at the service area so that the hydrogen that is not sold directly at the Fuchsberg service area can be supplied to other hydrogen fueling stations in Switzerland.
These are currently being built as part of a unique, cross-sector hydrogen mobility system operated by Hydrospider, Hyundai Hydrogen Mobility and the members of the H2 Mobility Switzerland Association.
Due to the pipeline and the filling station directly on the site of the motorway service station, no additional traffic will be generated in the neighboring villages.
In addition, the project should set new benchmarks in terms of energy efficiency: In a second phase, the project partners plan to feed the exhaust heat generated during hydrogen production into the regional district heating network that is currently being established by Energie Ausserschwyz. Thus, the hydrogen facility could provide heat to up to 1,300 households in the districts of Höfe and March.
The possibility of admixing hydrogen into the existing gas distribution network of EW Höfe will also be examined. The existing gas grids represent the ideal infrastructure to introduce renewable energies into the heating market.
EW Höfe AG is the largest combination utility in the Lower and Upper Lake Zurich region. SOCAR Energy Switzerland, a member of the H2 Mobility Switzerland Association since June 2018, is a subsidiary of SOCAR, the state energy company of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Alpiq is a leading Swiss energy services provider and electricity producer.