First public hydrogen fuel station opens in Flanders

Summary

Flanders’ first filling station for hydrogen-fuelled cars has opened in Zaventem, as Toyota announces its new hydrogen model is now on sale here

First of many, says Turtelboom

Flemish energy minister Annemie Turtelboom has inaugurated Flanders’ first fuel station for cars running on hydrogen. The station, on Leuvensesteenweg in Zaventem, is a joint venture between Toyota and Air Liquide.

Hydrogen fuel cars are emission-free and produce only water as a waste product. The new station can carry out 30 to 40 refills a day. One refill provides roughly the same length of operation as a full tank of petrol in a standard car.

“Electricity and hydrogen are the future, as well as a bit of hybrid,” Turtelboom said. Flanders, she admitted, doesn’t perform as well as other European nations for emissions, but by 2020, she said, the government aims to have 5,000 more charging stations for electric vehicles, 300 natural gas chargers and 20 hydrogen stations. They also expect the number of zero-emissions vehicles to increase from the 2,000 seen on the roads last year to more than 60,000 by 2020.

Toyota donated the space used by Air Liquide to install the fuel station and used the occasion of the launch to introduce its hydrogen-fuelled model Mirai – the Japanese word for “future”. Belgium is the fourth European country where the car is being sold, at a price here of €79,900.

Hydrogen is “one of the most promising technologies for a clean future, according to Masahisa Nagata, vice president of Toyota Motor Europe. However, it will take time before hydrogen cars are a norm, he said, as the necessary infrastructure still needs to be developed.

Photo: The first cars fuel up at Flanders’ first hydrogen station
©Toyota