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PARIS: Germany will significantly expand its hydrogen refuelling network as it seeks to wean lorries and buses off fossil fuels and decarbonise its transport network.

The number of stations in Europe’s largest economy will more than triple to 300 by 2030, the network operator H2 mobility and financial backers said in a statement on Tuesday.

Hydrogen produces only steam and no carbon dioxide when burnt, making it an attractive possible alternative to dirtier fossil fuels.

The expansion is being funded by a 70-million-euro ($77-million) cash injection from the specialist investment fund Hy24, which will also take a 40 percent stake in the project.

Existing shareholders in the network, including Air Liquide, Daimler Truck, Hyundai, Linde, OMV, Shell, and TotalEnergies, will invest a further 40 million euros.

The backers hope Germany, which already boasts Europe’s densest web of hydrogen refuelling stations, will become the “backbone” of the European transport network, where hydrogen is key to reducing emissions.

New installations will be focussed along a number of key “high-traffic corridors” criss-crossing the central European powerhouse.

Unlike in passenger vehicles, battery-powered engines are currently not considered strong enough to be used in heavy-goods vehicles.

Hydrogen is better adapted to lorries and buses, allowing them to “refuel quickly and cover long distances without sacrificing payload”, the parties said.

Founded in 2021 by the French companies Air Liquide, TotalEnergies and Vinci together with the private investment house Ardian, the Hy24 fund specifically targets hydrogen infrastructure projects.

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