Zagreb Buses That Run on Hydrogen to be Presented in 2023

Lauren Simmonds

Copyright Romulic and Stojcic
Zagreb, Croatia
Zagreb, Croatia

As Novac/Vedran Marjanovic writes on the 12th of September, 2020, the first Zagreb buses from ZET that use hydrogen as a fuel without any environmental pollution could be presented to the public in 2023, as was announced by the head of the City Office for Economy, Energy and Environmental Protection of the City of Zagreb, Mirka Jozic.

Speaking at the conference entitled ”Hydrogen in Energy Transition: Securing Electricity in the Event of Climate Extremes and Natural Disasters”. Mirka Jozic confirmed that the Zagreb buses which will run on hydrogen are currently not only the largest Croatian hydrogen projects, but also one of the largest of its kind in terms of projects for the Croatian economy as a whole.

”This is a new technology and a very expensive investment, so we must all be very patient in anticipation of the first results of the project we’re developing together with ZET and INA,” warned the head of the City Office for Economy, Energy and Environmental Protection of Zagreb.

As INA’s operational director for refineries and marketing, Stjepan Nikolic, confirmed at the meeting, INA should produce hydrogen for Zagreb buses at the Sisak refinery.

”Ina also sees its future in hydrogen, and we’re already producing grey hydrogen in the Rijeka refinery from natural gases, for our own needs, and it could produce much more and offer it on the market at an acceptable price,” said Nikolic.

”Hydrogen is the flagship of the global transition in energy and the economy from coal, oil and other fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. When we look at the effects that reducing pollution will have on the environment and human life, no price is too expensive,” warned Ankica Kovac, following whose presentation, Julije Domac, advisor to Zoran Milanovic for energy, pointed out that the world is already deep in an energy transition and that the cost of such a move is no longer a topic being discussed.

Referring to the economic side of the introduction of hydrogen in electricity generation and the economy, the president of the Croatian Society of Economists Ljubo Jurcic drew attention to the importance of the growing share of Croatian companies and scientists in the application of hydrogen in the ongoing energy transition.

”As a citizen, for example, I’d buy a hydrogen car, but as a minister I wouldn’t approve a subsidy for the purchase of such a car because you’re co-financing the production of other countries,” said Jurcic.

When it comes to hydrogen car infrastructure, Croatia doesn’t yet have a single charging station for hydrogen vehicles, the closest being located in Graz in Austria, some 120 kilometres from Zagreb. Therefore, as representatives of part of the automotive industry said at the meeting, hydrogen cars are currently not being offered here in Croatia.

Continuing Jurcic’s emphasis on the need for Croatian companies to enter new technology, Sinisa Marijan from the ‘Koncar – Institute of Electrical Engineering’ revealed that Koncar started researching and preparing energy projects using hydrogen back in the 1980s, but he said that the research stalled because there was no commercial interest in it at that time.

Among other things, the meeting drew attention to the European Union’s plans to produce six gigawatts of ‘green’ hydrogen in its members by the year 2024, and an additional 34 gigawatts by 2030. According to State Secretary of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, Natasa Mikus Zigman, the Croatian Government will take into account the need for an energy transition to hydrogen in the distribution and direction of the agreed 22 billion euros from European Union funds in the next seven years.

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