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Austrian Minister Köstinger Launches the Development of a Hydrogen Strategy


On Wednesday, March 20, the “Haus der Industrie” in Vienna hosted the kick-off event to develop a hydrogen strategy. 


This strategy is being developed by the Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism (BMNT) with the participation of the Federal Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure and Technology (BMVIT) in close cooperation with science, industry and industry by the end of this year. 


“In order to achieve our climate goals, we must make even more intensive use of all future-oriented technologies. In # mission2030 – the Austrian climate and energy strategy – we have now sketched the way we implement a lighthouse step by step with the hydrogen strategy. 


Only with companies and industry as partners can a successful energy turnaround succeed. Renewable hydrogen will play an important role in this, “said Energy Minister Elisabeth Köstinger.

Hydrogen a European success story

During the Austrian Council Presidency in 2018 Köstinger continued with the Hydrogen Initiative A strong European signal at the informal energy ministers’ meeting in Linz. The Declaration, which advocates the use of renewable hydrogen technology, was supported by 26 Member States, the European Commission, 2 EFTA States and some 100 companies, organizations and institutions. 


“Renewable hydrogen is an ‘all-rounder’, as one would say in skiing. Hydrogen has the potential to revolutionize our energy system in the long term. It can help us as a long-term storage, for the integration of electricity and heat, in industry and in the transport sector. In this way he shows possibilities for a clean and sustainable energy future. So also those sectors can be decarbonised.

The hydrogen strategy is now part of the contents of the Hydrogen Initiative and is nationally on track. The elaborated targets and measures will be included in the national climate and energy plan, which will be submitted to the European Commission by the end of this year and which will already be partially implemented in the Renewable Development Act (EAG) 2020.

Austria’s hydrogen Zillertal Railway


Zillertal, a valley in Tyrol, Austria is on-track for a new hydrogen (H2) railway which will make an important contribution to the Allps mobility future.

From 2022, the Zillertal Railway or Zillertalbahn, will be the first narrow-gauge railway in the world with environmentally friendly H2 propulsion, saving 800,000 litres of diesel annually.



“The new Zillertal Railway is a future project for the next 50 years. The carbon dioxide (CO2)-free transport with energy from green H2 will benefit the entire valley: the native population and the tourists,” said MMag. Monika Wechselberger, Mayor of the market town of Mayrhofen in the Zillertal Valley. 

In addition to being emission-free and extremely quite, the Zillertal Railway will also be much more convenient for passengers, reducing travel time from 55 to 45 minutes.

“The new station will not only increase the comfort for our passengers, but also offers all the technical requirements for the future, world-wide unique operation of the Zillertalbahn,” explains DI Helmut Schreiner, Technical Director of ZVB AG. 

The first train of the new Zillertal Railway will run on the 11th December 2022. 

Austrian pilot to test hydrogen as substitute for natural gas in TPP


 The use of green hydrogen as a substitute for natural gas will be tested by Austrian electricity company Verbund AG (VIE:VER) at an 838-MW gas-fired power plant in Austria.



German cleantech specialist Sunfire said recently it and Graz University of Technology are also participating in the Hotflex research project, as part of which hydrogen produced from clean energy using high-temperature electrolysis will partially substitute natural gas.


This will be happening for the first time in an industrial power plant operation, Sunfire, which will manufacture specific components for the facility, noted.

The Mellach gas-fired power plant has two turbines and they have used only natural gas up to now. Verbund is building at the site a pilot plant to serve both as an electrolyser and as a fuel cell. The hydrogen production capacity of the facility will be 40 Nm3 per hour.

After the three-year research project is over, the research facility in Mellach will continue to be operated by the Austrian electricity provider in line with the requirements of the operating reserve market.

Funds for the Hotflex project are coming from the European Union's "Horizon 2020" programme and the Austrian Research Promotion Agency.


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