State Secretary Pieter van Geel opens ECN hydrogen filling station

Friday November 10, 2006 11:29

On Friday 27 October State Secretary Pieter van Geel opened a filling station for hydrogen cars on the ECN site in Petten. The ECN Hydrogen Filling Station will be used mainly by the HydroGEM, a hydrogen-powered car presented by the Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) last summer, the first to have a Dutch fuel cell system. Both the PEM fuel cell and the vehicle system have been built entirely by ECN. Frank de Bruijn, Manager of ECN’s Hydrogen and Clean Fossil Unit explains: ‘The filling station enables us to fill up our hydrogen vehicle on our own site. By using the vehicle and the filling station on a daily basis we can gain valuable practical experience, we expect it will be easier to convince others that the technology is already so mature that they can start using a utility vehicle of this kind, or to persuade them to play a role in the further development and commercialization of hydrogen technology.’

ECN purchased its Hydrogen Filling Station from Air Products, which developed it specifically for small-scale application from standard components as far as possible. The hydrogen supplied by Air Products is manufactured from natural gas. The station has a stock of about 1,600 litres (two 800-litre packages) stored at relatively low pressure (200 bar). It takes five to ten minutes to fill the HydroGEM’s hydrogen tank.

The HydroGEM is being used by ECN’s Facilities Department, making it the first hydrogen-powered  utility vehicle in operational service in the Netherlands. It is a version of the Daimler Chrysler GEM which has been adapted by ECN. The original GEM was fitted with  traction batteries, which limited its range and meant that it had to be plugged in to a power point regularly for long periods to recharge it. The fuel cell has so much power that electrical tools can be connected to it via a socket. The HydroGEM is quiet and extremely clean, enabling it to be used in factories and distribution centres and on airport and station concourses and platforms; also in nature  areas and even hospitals. It has an electronically limited maximum speed of 40 km per hour and a load capacity of 200 kg. The range is 200 km.

On top of the official opening of the ECN Hydrogen Filling Station, Ulco Vermeulen, Chairman of the New Gas Transition Platform, presented the report ‘Hydrogen: Fuel for Transitions’. In it the New Gas Platform sets out its vision for the future of hydrogen, future applications and the work that needs to be done to make this vision reality. The report’s main conclusion is that hydrogen can contribute to increasing energy supply security, improving air quality (especially in urban areas) and reducing emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2. Hydrogen also offers major innovations and opportunities for the Dutch supply and manufacturing industry.

For more information on the HydroGEM and copyright-free photographs see

For more information on the report ‘Hydrogen: Fuel for Transitions’ by the New Gas Transition Platform see

End of press release

Note for the editors:
For more information you can contact Harold IJskes, press information ECN, telephone +31 (0) 224 - 56 40 50, mobile +31 (0) 6 -127 98 123 or e-mail

Category: Corporate, Hydrogen & Clean Fossil Fuels