Slovenia has been addressing the introduction of hydrogen in transport since 2014, in 2023 it is at the very beginning with the installation of infrastructure for hydrogen vehicles and also with the introduction of vehicles into interregional public passenger transport.
“In October 2014, Directive 2014/94/EU of the European Parliament and the Council on the establishment of infrastructure for alternative fuels was adopted. The directive stipulates that each EU member state must adopt its own program in this area and determine the coverage of alternative fuel infrastructure in its area.” (Transport development strategy in the Republic of Slovenia until 2030, 2017)
The introduction of hydrogen in transport was addressed by the Slovenian Ministry of Infrastructure in different strategic documents, which are listed below, and supported for implementation by the Act on Infrastructure for Alternative Fuels.
The documents are as follows:
1. Operational program of measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions until 2020 (December, 2014)
Additional measures to reduce TGP by 20230 in this document include the introduction of hydrogen in transport.
2. Transport development strategy in the Republic of Slovenia until 2030 (June, 2017)
The alternative fuel infrastructure planned to be set until 2025 also includes hydrogen for motor vehicles.
3. Resolution on the national transport development program in the Republic of Slovenia for the period up to 2030 (October, 2017)
The national program within measure Ro.35 foresees the following sub-measure among the many measures for infrastructure for alternative fuel sources: »publicly accessible hydrogen supply points«.
4. Strategy in the field of market development for the establishment of appropriate infrastructure related to alternative fuels in the transport sector in the Republic of Slovenia (October, 2017)
The Strategy dedicates a chapter (6.2) to the hydrogen implementation in the transport.
“6.2 Measures to promote the use of hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles
As an alternative source of energy, hydrogen is intended as an energy carrier for the production of electricity in fuel cells for direct use to drive a vehicle. Currently, the biggest obstacle is the faster expansion of the charging infrastructure of hydrogen filling stations, the modest offer of hydrogen vehicles on the market and their high price compared to other vehicles.
In September 2013, the first public filling station for hydrogen (300/350 bar) was installed in Slovenia at the Petrol service station in Lesce. The filling station was set up as a “demo project”, with which the necessary experience for the construction of such facilities was also to be gained in Slovenia.
The directive allows Member States to decide independently whether to include hydrogen refueling points in their national policy frameworks. Slovenia is opting for hydrogen technologies, so it is obliged to provide an adequate number of publicly accessible charging points by 31 December 2025, which will enable both local traffic and cross-border connections.
6.2.1 Promotion of research work and innovation
Hydrogen technologies are still a big challenge for the automotive industry, so research work and the search for innovations that would make vehicles and charging infrastructure cheaper are essential. Slovenia will promote industry-related research work in order to maintain its place among manufacturers and suppliers for the automotive industry.
6.2.2 Charging infrastructure
Slovenia has a hydrogen filling station. In accordance with the chosen technology, the installation of four or eight hydrogen filling stations is envisaged. Subsidized construction of charging stations/infrastructure is necessary in its entirety (mainly grants from the EU – according to experience so far, only strong consortia of EU cities and the largest bus manufacturers have obtained such funds). Due to the economy of scale of the use of hydrogen vehicles, from an economic point of view, the investment is not recouped in an acceptable time. Private investors therefore have no economic interest. At the same time, as with charging stations for electric vehicles, charging stations must be subsidized in accordance with the latest standards. The technical specifications for hydrogen refueling points specified in point 2 of Annex II of the Directive will be taken into account.
6.2.3 Financial incentives
The financial incentives provided for electric vehicles are also provided for hydrogen vehicles. Measures to encourage the use of hydrogen vehicles are specifically managed so that they can continue even when the threshold values for incentives for electric vehicles have already been reached.
6.2.4 Placement in the premises
In particular, the largest municipalities should be encouraged to consider hydrogen-powered public passenger transport in their integrated transport strategies, and to ensure appropriate conditions in their municipal spatial plans in the event of a decision to use hydrogen for the installation of charging stations. Until the appropriate legislation is drawn up, it is important to enable the construction of charging infrastructure according to already known technical guidelines and to ensure the possibility of placement in locations that already offer other energy sources.
6.2.5 Promotional activities to encourage the use of hydrogen
Due to the very limited range of vehicles and the great lack of knowledge and, as a result, mistrust of hydrogen technologies, a special communication campaign for hydrogen technologies is necessary. It is prepared in accordance with the layout of the hydrogen charging infrastructure.
6.2.6 Demonstration Project
The demonstration project envisages the installation of 700 bar filling stations (4-8 filling stations), worth €2.8 to €3.2 million. At the same time, it is also necessary to provide means for raising awareness and informing the public about the safe use of hydrogen vehicles. As part of the demonstration project, demonstration drives and public demonstrations of the functioning of hydrogen vehicles would be carried out, especially in schools and public institutions. In the introduction of hydrogen technologies in transport, there are still many open questions, which to a large extent prevent its use on a larger scale. The support of the demonstration project also supports research that would answer open questions and accelerate the implementation of hydrogen technologies. This would establish the Slovenian value chain of hydrogen technologies.
6.2.7 Supply of energy products and pricing policy
The price of hydrogen for driving vehicles on the Slovenian market has not yet been established, as there is no such offer yet. In the first, promotional phase, the price for a kilogram of hydrogen is estimated at eight euros. At the same time, it is considered that the price of hydrogen will have to be subsidized.
6.2.8 Introducing content about hydrogen technologies into educational programs
Educational programs for secondary schools and vocational and professional education programs include content on hydrogen technologies in order to educate and train professionals who will work with hydrogen technologies in all fields. 6.2.9 Elimination of administrative obstacles Obtaining a building permit for the installation of a filling station represents a major obstacle, as there is no legal basis. There are only good engineering practices. In order to establish the infrastructure for hydrogen vehicles, it is therefore necessary to adapt the legislation.”
5. Action program for alternative fuels in transport for the years 2022 and 2023 (December 2021)
A part addressing hydrogen is as it follows:
»To encourage the transition to electric vehicles, the following measures are planned in the field of public passenger transport:
- U1: Purchase of new passenger transport vehicles (M2, M3). The purchase of new vehicles for the implementation of public urban and intercity passenger transport, for the transport of passengers and their luggage, namely new vehicles for road transport with electric drive or hydrogen, categories M2 and M3, which also includes vehicles such as vans, minibuses, is co-financed and road tourist trains.
- U2: Purchase of new vehicles for carrying out passenger traffic (M1, M2, M3). The purchase of new vehicles for the implementation of public city and intercity passenger transport and school transport, for the transport of passengers and their luggage, is co-financed, namely new electric or hydrogen-powered road transport vehicles, categories M1, M2 and M3, which also includes vehicles, such as vans, minibuses and road tourist trains.«
In the following text, they define the goals until 2030 with numbers. Part of the text under Measures to promote the use of hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles is copied from the Strategy in the field of market development for the establishment of appropriate infrastructure related to alternative fuels in the transport sector in the Republic of Slovenia.
6. Operational program for the implementation of the European Cohesion Policy for the period 2021-2027 (December 2022)
This document also mentions promoting the deployment of hydrogen mobility.
7. Act on the infrastructure for alternative fuels and the promotion of the transition to alternative fuels in transport (in the process of addoption 2023)
The law is the basis for many financial measures in the field of promoting the introduction of mobility on alternative fuel sources and thus also on hydrogen.
8. Sources of financial resources
For the conclussion let us take a look at some of the financial resources that are planned or are available for the implementation of the mobility on hydrogen:
• Eco Fund – Climate Change Fund in the period 2021-2023
• RePower EU plan
• Funds of the Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Energy
• EKP 2021-2027
• Recovery and Resilience Fund
• Dedicated funds according to the Act on the infrastructure for alternative fuels and the promotion of the transition to alternative fuels in transport
Article was prepared by Blanka Odlazek, BSC, Business Support Center, Ltd, Kranj