OSLO, Norway -- Norwegian industrial conglomerate Norsk Hydro said Thursday that it had shipped the world's first commercial hydrogen filling station for cars and buses to Iceland under a European Union-sponsored environmental project.
A Norsk Hydro spokesman said hydrogen filling stations already exist in restricted and private use elsewhere in the world, but that the filling station for the Icelandic capital Reykjavik will be the first to be open to the public.
The station, to be built with Shell and to be opened April 24, will initially serve three DaimlerChrysler hydrogen-powered buses that will run on regular routes in the city for two years, the group said.
Spokesman Helge Stiksrud acknowledged that few hydrogen-powered cars are on the roads, and they are not in regular production, but said that most car manufacturers had developed hydrogen models.
"If a person in Iceland buys a hydrogen-driven car, he can use that filling station," Stiksrud said.
The $7 million hydrogen station that Hydro will deliver to Rejkjavik is the first result of the international joint venture, Icelandic New Energy Ltd, where Norsk Hydro has a 16.3 percent interest, the Norwegian group said in a statement.
"The company's aim is to study the possibilities for replacing fossil fuels and developing the first 'hydrogen economy' in the world," it added.
The station will use Norsk Hydro's technology, including an electrolyser -- a device that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen with electricity -- a compressor and a direct vehicle filling station, the company said. It said the project was in line with the Iceland's goal to base all its energy production on renewable resources by 2030. The only emission from hydrogen used as fuel is water.
The Reykjavik station will be set up in connection with the EU-sponsored ECTOS project, a sister project to the European Union's program called CUTE, which stands for Clean Urban Transport Europe, with pilots in nine European cities.
Norsk Hydro has also said it would supply a hydrogen filling station to Hamburg, Germany, one of the nine cities with a CUTE project, each of which will involve tests with buses over the next few years.
The other cities are Amsterdam, Netherlands; Barcelona, Spain; London; Luxembourg; Madrid, Spain; Porto, Portugal; Stockholm; and Stuttgart.