In Kozani - and for the first time in Greece - is an electric car with hydrogen cells.
The Hyundai SUV, which was presented to the Greek public at the start of the 1st Exhibition - Innovation Conference, organised by the Region of Western Macedonia, which has the aim of highlighting the use of hydrogen in transport.
Filling the car's tank takes five minutes and ensures a range of about 600 kilometers. Instead of exhaust pollutants, it produces clean drinking water!
Today, there are more than 5000 hydrogen cars in circulation in Europe and around 200 hydrogen refueling stations are operating.
In Brussels, where the specific car presented in Kozani is in circulation, there are three hydrogen stations, but none yet in the Balkans.
Two carmakers - Hyundai and Toyota - have already started commercial production of hydrogen models. Others have shown the first demonstration models and almost all are investing in the technology with the prospect of integrating it directly into their production process.
“The technology is quite mature, but still relatively expensive, as until we reach industrial scale all production costs are high ," Nikos Davos, co-founder and administrator of CluBE - Bioeconomy and Environment Cluster of Western Macedonia, told AMNA.
"But the European Union is investing in hydrogen, and in the near future we will see the whole hydrogen economy grow rapidly. There have already been jumps in recent years and prices are expected to drop in the near future."
As an indication, it should be mentioned that the purchase price of the SUV model that is circulating in Kozani reaches 90,000 euros, compared to a price of around 50,000 for the corresponding model with an internal combustion engine.
"Clean water instead of exhaust gas"
The hydrogen cell car does not have an internal combustion engine, it has a fuel cell that does the chemical process, which produces electricity. Hydrogen is stored in the car's tank. The car takes in air from the outside. Inside the fuel cell, hydrogen combines with oxygen to produce electricity.
In addition to the fact that the hydrogen car does not produce pollution while driving, having clean water as the only "waste", the environmentally friendly technology is enhanced because the operation of the fuel cell requires clean oxygen and thus the car's filters also clean the atmosphere.
"Greece's comparative advantage"
At the same time, sustainability is particularly important as hydrogen is an element that exists abundantly in nature and will not run out. An additional advantage is the possibility of producing hydrogen locally and from renewable energy sources.
As Davos explained, a country like Greece has a comparative advantage in exploiting renewable energy sources and could become not only a producer of hydrogen for domestic consumption, but also export it to Central Europe.
"Already in Western Macedonia since 2019, we have been systematically working together with Regional Governor Giorgos Kasapidis for the development of the local green hydrogen economy aiming to create a Valley of Clean Technologies and Green Hydrogen," he added.
In the near future, the development of technology is expected to make hydrogen cars even more attractive, not only in terms of their purchase costs but also in terms of their travel costs and autonomy, as larger tanks are already being planned and their overall performance improves.
"It's environmentally friendly, quiet, has good acceleration and great torque, and overall much better performance than internal combustion engines," Davos noted.
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