Hydrogen is considered by many to be the perfect fuel: it emits zero tailpipe emissions and doesn't require an outlet or hours to recharge a battery. But because it's energy intensive, derived from nonrenewable resources, and is expensive to produce and transport, don't expect to find it at the pump anytime soon. Unless you're in Italy.
Acta, a clean energy company in Italy, has developed a commercial system for using solar energy to convert water to hydrogen at a fueling station. It recently signed a framework agreement with filling station forecourt equipment installation company Girelli Bruni to be its exclusive supplier of photovoltaic panels. The agreement also specifies that Girelli Bruni will also be the exclusive distributor of Acta's hydrogen generators for the fuel supply market in Italy.
The companies are taking advantage of the country's legislation that requires any new fuel service station to install a minimum quantity of photovoltaic generation capacity and to provide a gaseous fuel alternative to petroleum per regional requirements. Tuscany, for example, requires new fueling stations to install a minimum of 12kw of photovoltaic capacity and one petrol alternative of methane, LPG, or hydrogen.
Girelli Bruni completed more than 170 forecourt installation projects during 2009, according to Renewable Energy Magazine. The partnership makes Girelli Bruni company the go-to company for stations interested in choosing hydrogen as their gasoline alternative, and it could be a boon for the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle market. If there was one. Honda is the only company with production fuel cell vehicles, and there are only about 10 Honda FCX Clarity vehicles in Europe.