Switzerland’s hydrogen strategy is not expected until the second half of 2024, and so far there are nearly no specific regulations. This is a situation that local players and local authorities are deploring.
The press is seizing on the subject, as illustrated by an article in Le Temps (in French), which reported on the eagerness of the cantons a few months ago, and more recently in Swiss Info. This online medium reminds us that Switzerland has played a pioneering role.
Switzerland invented the hydrogen car
It was the Franco-Swiss inventor François Isaac de Rivaz who designed the first hydrogen-powered vehicle – a wooden cart equipped with an internal combustion engine – tested for the first time in 1813 in Vevey, in the canton of Vaud. We also learn that “A few years later, in 1838, the Swiss chemist and physicist Christian Friedrich Schönbein published the principle of the fuel cell, which we now use to obtain electricity from hydrogen and oxygen.”
More surprisingly, the article reveals that “Switzerland is one of the European countries with the largest number of hydrogen refuelling stations (currently fifteen). Only Germany, France, the UK and the Netherlands have more.”
A distress signal for a hydrogen strategy
The country made headlines when it signed an agreement with Hyundai and Alpiq to produce green hydrogen and deploy a fleet of trucks, offered on a leasing basis. This model could also set an example outside the Swiss Confederation. Switzerland is home to some pioneering companies, such as GreenGT and Stadler, which is rolling out hydrogen trains in the United States.
Coming back to Swiss Info, the article states that “The Swiss government also sees renewable hydrogen as an important element in achieving its goal of zero net emissions by 2050. However, it does not yet have a clear and detailed vision. We don’t know where the hydrogen will come from, or in what quantities,” says the paper.
The association of Swiss companies is also launching a distress signal, following the publication of a recent study (in French).
Article written by Laurent Meillaud and translated by Logan King