Icelandic geothermal power utility ON Power has announced it will start the experimental production of hydrogen at its Hellisheiði Geothermal Power Plant, near Reykjavik. The project is a European research project in collaboration with Icelandic companies Orkan, owned by Skeljung (Icelandic gas station operator), and Iceland New Energy.
An electrolyzer has been purchased and is being installed at Hellisheiði facility, in Southwest Iceland. Sale of hydrogen for vehicles could begin as early as October. The European project also includes the installation of a hydrogen refueling station. Orkan opened two hydrogen stations earlier this summer. For now imported hydrogen will be used until hydrogen will be produced from the new station.
The electrolyzer to be used has the capacity to produce enough hydrogen for all hydrogen-powered cars that operate in the country already, in addition to five hydrogen-powered buses, to be taken into use by the end of next year.
Bjarni Már Júlíusson, CEO of ON Power, states that the idea is to produce the hydrogen by the geothermal power plant and to distribute it in bottles to prevent any loss in transport. The hydrogen will be produced at one location and delivered at two to three stations.
The project’s startup cost is funded by European grants, in addition to a ISK 100 million (USD 949,000, EUR 810,000) coming from ON Power. Bjarni does not expect the operation to be profitable at first, but notes he hopes that a successful market will be established for clean Icelandic energy in the future.