Axpo and Rhiienergie open largest green hydrogen production plant in Switzerland

26.04.2024 - Axpo and electric utility Rhiienergie opened the first green hydrogen production plant in Switzerland’s Graubünden canton, it was announced today. The facility, the country’s largest, is located next to the Reichenau hydropower plant in Domat/Ems and can produce up to 350 tonnes of green hydrogen a year. The inclusion of hydrogen in the energy mix will play an increasingly important role in ensuring the future security of supply.

After around a year’s construction, Axpo and local partner Rhiienergie opened their first jointly owned hydrogen production plant at the Reichenau hydropower plant today. The 2.5-megawatt plant produces up to 350 tonnes of green hydrogen a year, making it the largest plant of its kind in Switzerland. The hydrogen produced can replace the use of up to 1.5 million litres of diesel annually. 

The plant’s green hydrogen is produced by water electrolysis, using green electricity from the adjacent hydroelectric power plant. The process is therefore entirely free of any CO2 emissions. The produced hydrogen is compressed in the plant, enabling its convenient delivery to refuelling stations and industrial customers in the future. 

Axpo CEO Christoph Brand said, “There are still a few hurdles to overcome, but we’re convinced of this green, sustainable and renewable energy carrier’s potential." 

The plant’s inauguration was attended by representatives from politics and business. In addition to local councillors from the Domat-Ems municipality, Graubünden Cantonal Councillor and Energy Minister Dr. Carmelia Maissen and National Councillor Martin Candinas were also present.

First plant in Graubünden 

The pioneering new facility is connected directly to the Reichenau run-of-river hydropower plant, in which Axpo holds a majority stake. This enables the climate-neutral production of green hydrogen, making it the first such facility in the Graubünden region. 

Rhiienergie CEO Christian Capaul added: "I’m convinced that green hydrogen will play a key role in our future energy supply. With the plant here in Domat/Ems, Rhiienergie and Axpo have realised an impressive flagship project”.

Cantonal Councillor Dr. Carmelia Maissen, Head of canton’s Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Mobility, said, "The hydrogen plant fits perfectly with efforts to exploit the potential of green hydrogen in the Alpine region and the canton's endeavours to achieve its climate and energy goals." 

Green hydrogen a sustainable energy carrier

Green hydrogen is an important climate-friendly energy carrier, especially in the industrial and mobility sectors, and is a key component of decarbonisation. In addition, the inclusion of hydrogen in the energy mix will play an increasingly important role in ensuring the future security of supply. Axpo’s goal is to actively promote the hydrogen economy in Switzerland and Europe. This plant demonstrates that commitment.

More Axpo hydrogen projects   

Working with the SGV shipping company, Axpo is planning the first hydrogen-powered vessel on Lake Lucerne in Switzerland. As part of this project, Axpo will supply the green hydrogen needed to operate the boat. Axpo is also part of a mobility initiative in France. The Arve Hydrogène Mobilité (Arv'Hy) project will allow hydrogen-powered vehicles to be refuelled at an H2 filling station from the first quarter of 2025. In addition, Axpo is also working with energy investor ENEGO to examine the feasibility of a 100 MW hydrogen production plant in south-east Sicily and is also developing one of Italy's largest H2 plants in central Abruzzo’s Peligna Valley with Australian renewable energy company IGE.

Axpo Holding AG

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