Licensing hydrogen refuelling stations

The coming years we expect to see substantial growth in the use of hydrogen for mobility, i.e., for cars, buses, and trains, among other things.  Developments for heating homes with hydrogen will also continue apace. The production, transport and delivery of the hydrogen needed for this purpose requires permits. However if a gas station operator has plans for a hydrogen tank or a housing corporation wants to heat its homes with hydrogen, municipalities often do not know what to do.

Because hydrogen is new in the public domain, there is not yet uniformity in how to deal with a permit application. The risk in this case is that there will be variation in how the permit application is managed between municipalities and regions. An efficient and effective throughput of the permit process is desirable. This is only possible if all parties involved are sufficiently familiar with the matter and are helped on their way. For example, by indicating which actions are required at which moment to whom and which documents are needed for this.

Guidelines for municipalities and service station operators

The WVIP programme is researching what is needed to enable uniformity in licensing everywhere. This has shown that both licensing authorities and permit applicants have a great need for manuals about the use of hydrogen for mobility. This has resulted in a number of publications: the Administrative Guide for Permitting Hydrogen Fuelling Stations (aimed at municipalities that must issue permits) and the Practical Guide to the Permitting Process for Hydrogen Fuelling Stations (aimed at filling station operators). A summary of the latter is also available in Dutch and English.

In addition, five additional documents were prepared in 2021 (only available in Dutch):

  1. Hydrogen refuelling stations and the Environment Act
  2. Permitting local production of hydrogen at hydrogen refuelling stations
  3. Permit granting mobile storage at a hydrogen refuelling station
  4. Permit granting of a relocatable hydrogen refuelling station
  5. Guideline for incorporating hydrogen refuelling stations into zoning plans

Our goal with these publications is to accelerate the growth of hydrogen refuelling stations or multi-fuel stations.

Unambiguity facilitates and speeds up the process of granting permits, both for administrators and their official organization and for the applicants. And that lowers the threshold for the introduction of hydrogen as a safe and dependable energy carrier in society.

On the topic of hydrogen refuelling station licensing, we held an online seminar in October 2021. You can watch it back here (only available in Dutch).