August 25, 2006

Norway's First Hydrogen Fueling Station Opens

OSLO, Norway
Norway's first hydrogen filling station for motor vehicles opened Tuesday as a step in creating a clean-air highway in southern Norway.

Companies, government and organizations participating in a joint effort called HyNor hope to create a "Hydrogen Highway" between the capital, Oslo, and western Norway's port of Stavanger.

By 2009, HyNor plans to have enough fueling stations along the 580 kilometer (360 mile) route to allow hydrogen cell powered vehicles to routinely make the trip.

The first clean fuel station was opened at a ceremony on the outskirts of Stavanger by Statoil ASA, the Norwegian state-controlled oil company that is branching out into alternative energy.

"Road travel contributes substantially to the emissions of climate damaging gasses," said Norwegian Environment Minister Helen Bjoernoey at the opening ceremony. "Development of hydrogen vehicles and infrastructure for them are important to ensuring more environmentally friendly transport."

The only emissions from hydrogen fuel cells are water and heat. However, the vehicles remain expensive, have short range and, in most areas, have few places to refuel.

The Norwegian HyNor plan calls for five refueling stations along the main highway from Oslo to Stavanger, the center of the national petroleum industry that makes Norway the world's third largest oil exporter, after Saudi Arabia and Russia.

The aim is to extend the network through much of Scandinavia under the Scandinavian Hydrogen Highway Partnership, a joint organization formed by HyNor, Sweden's HyFuture and Denmark's Hydrogen Link in June.


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