ORLEN secures accreditation for automotive grade hydrogen testing

ORLEN Laboratorium’s Refining Products Testing Unit in Trzebinia is the first lab in Poland and the third one worldwide to have achieved accreditation for advanced automotive grade hydrogen testing methods. The positive assessment from the Polish Accreditation Centre holds key importance for the hydrogen producer – ORLEN Południe. In 2024, ORLEN Laboratorium aims to secure accreditation for its second lab in Włocławek, soon to house a Hydrogen Hub.

Starting from 1 January 2025, every hydrogen laboratory will be required, for product certification purposes, to have each hydrogen quality testing method and hydrogen sampling process accredited. Notably, the accreditation for the Refining Products Testing Unit in Trzebinia has been secured almost a year ahead of the regulatory requirements, enabling immediate commencement of further work on automotive grade hydrogen. This is very advantageous for the hydrogen producer, ORLEN Południe, which will benefit from the possibility of having its hydrogen output certified and conducting further tests at the accredited lab.

“As a key enabler of the energy transition, hydrogen plays an important role also in the ORLEN Group’s strategic vision. To underscore our commitment to this fuel, we have earmarked PLN 7.4bn for related investments by 2030, with a primary focus on hydrogen mobility. We’re expanding hydrogen refuelling infrastructure, launching stations for buses, trucks and cars, while testing the first hydrogen-powered locomotive. The recent extension of the accreditation held by our lab in Trzebinia to encompass automotive grade hydrogen testing marks another significant stride forward in this area. I’m delighted that we’ve been positioned alongside prestigious counterparts in the United Kingdom and United States. This achievement wouldn’t have been possible without meticulous preparations and dedication of our entire team, who deserve a big thank you,” says Grzegorz Jóźwiak, Head of the ORLEN Hydrogen Technology and Synthetic Fuels Office.

The successful accreditation for the testing unit in Trzebinia, as the pioneer in Poland, was preceded by three years of preparations, underpinned by a strategic collaboration with the National Physical Laboratory of the United Kingdom, the leading institute for automotive hydrogen testing. A proficiency testing programme, to which the Polish laboratory had been invited as a result of this collaboration, confirmed its competence and qualified it to apply for the accreditation, as one of only four facilities globally.

Constantly striving for excellence, the team of ORLEN Laboratorium’s Analysis Unit are committed to advancing their competence and knowledge in automotive grade hydrogen testing, including through membership of the HyQuality Europe – Clean Hydrogen Partnership Project, running in 2023–2025. The project consortium, bringing together 12 partners, is composed of qualified researchers from academia and industries of six European countries. Its key objective is to enhance the reliability of hydrogen refuelling stations (HRS), ultimately fostering confidence among investors, operators and consumers. As its participant, ORLEN Laboratorium will be a beneficiary of solutions delivered by the project, expected to drive the ORLEN Group’s hydrogen production capabilities.

In 2023, ORLEN Laboratorium commissioned its second automotive grade hydrogen testing lab at the Fertilizer and Environmental Testing Centre in Włocławek, which will ultimately provide lab analysis services for the newly launched Hydrogen Hub in Włocławek. Plans are underway to secure accreditation for hydrogen fuel testing methods at this location in 2024, as well as for the hydrogen sampling process performed by ORLEN Laboratorium’s Logistics Department.

In line with its updated strategy to 2030, the ORLEN Group is also expanding its network of 24/7 hydrogen refuelling stations, both in Poland and internationally. In 2021, ORLEN launched Poland’s first automotive grade hydrogen production hub, supplying hydrogen fuel for over a year to a pilot hydrogen refuelling station in Kraków. Later this year, hydrogen refuelling stations will also be made available to Polish motorists in Poznań and Katowice. By mid 2025, ORLEN plans to have more hydrogen stations in operation in Bielsko-Biała, Gorzów Wielkopolski, Wałbrzych, Kraków, Włocławek, Gdynia, Piła, and Warsaw. Their construction will be funded through CEF (Connecting Europe Facility) and the National Environmental Protection Fund.

 In the Czech Republic, motorists can already refuel with hydrogen at ORLEN Benzina stations in Prague and Litvínov. This is only a beginning, as the ORLEN Group’s network is set to expand to comprise over 100 hydrogen refuelling stations in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia within the next six years.

ORLEN is also the leading participant of two Hydrogen Valleys – the Mazovian Hydrogen Valley established in 2022, and the Amber Hydrogen Valley formed a year later in the Province of Gdańsk by an international consortium of 11 entities. The Amber Hydrogen Valley project is the first in Poland to receive certification from Mission Innovation and the Clean Hydrogen Partnership as a flagship hydrogen valley project. The latter project includes the launch of renewable hydrogen generation sources and creation of the world’s first fleet of hydrogen-powered port vehicles to serve the port of Gdynia.