These types of use cases are where the MS region
wants to apply hydrogen power. Purely battery
powered electric vehicles that would be suitable
for the conditions of these specific tracks simply
do not exist on the market today. The region is now
deciding which new train units to buy, and the image
of the MS region using diesel trains for the next half
a century seems very bad. A powerful source of
hydrogen will be installed in Krnov, which will allow
us to operate not only express connections, but also
passenger trains. The hydrogen cluster’s role here
is as a coordinator that manages all of the subjects
and investors involved. We want to reach the point
where we would be able to offer hydrogen power
to less industrially developed partner regions such
as the Olomouc region, where these trains would
The problem with humanity
we are good at dealing
with the tangible, such as fuels,
but dealing with the intangible, such
as energy, is currently a problem.
Are there any hidden complications ahead?
The region has decided that it wants this technology.
Hydrogen technology is very complex, and it
cannot be done on a small scale. Public and train
transportation is just a soft start within the field.
The success of the effort as a whole will be centred
around the development of our industry.
Our region is already out of the very early stages and
we need to move on towards building infrastructure,
but we are hampered by the European legislature.
We are trying to fulfil and realise our intentions,
however, this cannot be 100% guaranteed. At
the same time, we are trying to make use of
the window of downtime we now have until 2027,
when the conditions of application and production
of sustainable hydrogen will come into effect across
all of Europe. Time is of the essence, because after
this grace period, countries with more expansive
renewable and natural resources, such as the sea,
lots of sunshine, etc. will become our largest
We want people to understand that change is
already happening, and for them to be tenacious to
the point where Europe would notice that our region
is good at what we do and that there is no way back.
Only then can we truly become partners to Brussels
that cannot be ignored. There is no testing period,
we have to nail it on our first try without upsetting
the trust of potential partners and the local citizens.
The government is not exactly actively helping us,
however, the least they could do is clear the way so
that we do not also have to juggle our own country’s
legislature. This would allow us to create something
like a “European sandbox,” giving us space to
make positive decisions like a five year pardon
from the construction legislature for hydrogen
technology applications, and so on. The European
legislature wants us to maintain an absolute standard
of purely green hydrogen. If this were to become
even a little more lenient, which the opportunities
for this do exist, that would allow us to produce
greatly improved results and complete our projects
Is it better to provide interested parties with
a lot of facts, or is it more important to develop
the impression they get?
Nowadays, impressions seem to be more powerful
than facts. Customers are more likely to learn about
and purchase technologies according to their
impressions. We are oversaturated with facts, as
they are widely and quickly available to anyone.
This means that we return to the instinct of making
decisions based on impressions.
Hydrogen has a wide roster of uses and can be
used to solve many different problems (heating,
oxygen for industrial use, etc.). The infrastructure
for it only has to be paid for once. We have railway
tracks, pipelines, processing facilities… Hydrogen
is definitely a better path when compared to
massive electrification with its complex lithium ion
buildings, long construction bureaucracy and need
for individual solutions. Furthermore, hydrogen is
very compatible with electromobility as well. We
probably have no other options anyway.
Consider the following examples: Our entire private
regional transportation, which includes maybe
around 1 000 buses, would use around 15 tons of
hydrogen per day. The Třinec and Liberty smelteries
together would use around 1 000 tons per day
to produce 5 million tons of steel annually. If you
would add the consumption of a couple other
large subjects within the region, this would feasibly
sustain business within hydrogen economics. Even
if the big smelteries would decide not to solve their
energy consumption issues through hydrogen, but
for example, arc furnaces instead, they would still
require the same amount of energy and strengthened
power lines. In the end, this would also require the
equivalent of another Temelín power plant when
it comes to energy. Our industrial region makes
use of many different materials and resources,
such as coal, petroleum and electricity. Hydrogen
offers great business potential, is relatively easy to
handle, and is a lot easier to store and transport than
electricity. Hydrogen has the largest concentration
of energy per ton (not per unit of volume). Our
region has a great opportunity here to cover its
increasing energy usage.
Mr. Minařík, thank you for the interview.
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