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Already 50 hydrogen vehicles in Austria
In Styria, Austria, the first hydrogen-powered taxi is already on the road. This propulsion system is thought to be especially environmentally friendly because, instead of exhaust gases, it emits primarily water vapour.
Research is progressing, and future traffic prospects are seen, especially in hydrogen propulsion and the result is that there are 50 hydrogen vehicles currently registered nationwide. Wildon, in the Styrian district of Leibnitz, is home to Austria's first hydrogen taxi.
The technology works by converting hydrogen into energy in a fuel cell in conjunction with oxygen. Ultrapure water is the only "exhaust gas." A new research focus is on how to generate hydrogen with less energy because it is produced from electricity - and up to 30% of the energy is lost in the process.
5 minutes are needed to refuel a vehicle
Currently, fuel cell cars, also known as fuel cell electric vehicles, have a range of around 600 kilometres. It takes an average of five minutes to refuel a vehicle. At the moment, the cost of hydrogen is nine euros per kilogramme, so a tank of about six kilogrammes costs around 54 euros.
Taking Austria as an example, 40 filling stations would be required to implement a nationwide network of less than 15 kilometers, but so far there are only five filling stations, which is why they are still expensive to set up: “The cost of setting up a hydrogen filling station is currently around one million Euros - these could drop to around 400,000 euros through economies of scale," expects the Styrian hydrogen expert Alexander Trattner from the Graz University of Technology.
However, the technology should also soon gain more importance in other areas - such as in industry. In the opinion of Economic Counselor Barabra Eibinger-Miedl (ÖVP): "Styria is an industrial country, around a third of the added value comes from this sector and Styria has a lot of energy-intensive companies. It is therefore essential for us that leading companies also lead the way with hydrogen technology in production."
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