Saudi Aramco and Air Products will co-build the kingdom's first hydrogen-powered car fuelling station, which will be completed in Q2 2019.
The hydrogen station will be located in Dhahran Techno Valley Science Park in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, and will test transport electrification in the kingdom.
Aramco and Air Products will also set up a pilot fleet of fuel cell vehicles, powered by high-purity compressed hydrogen.
The fleet of vehicles will be tested to see how emerging hydrogen technologies can support development of electric cars.
“Hydrogen fuel cells offer an effective means for the electrification of transport while maintaining easy, five-minute refuelling, and long driving ranges,” said Saudi Aramco’s chief technology officer, Ahmad Al Khowaiter.
Using hydrogen derived from oil or gas to power electric cars presents an “exciting opportunity” for Saudi Arabia to accelerate towards a cleaner transport industry, he added.
Air Products’ executive vice president, Dr Samir Serhan, said the company was looking forward to developing a “sustainable hydrocarbon-based hydrogen supply” that he said illustrated the US-based firm’s commitment to Vision 2030.
It is unclear when construction will start on the fuelling station, but Aramco and Air Products expect it to be operational by its Q2 2019 deadline.
Japanese auto giant Toyota, which has been investing in hydrogen for two decades, will supply hydrogen cars for the pilot phase of the project. The Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell Vehicles, which hit the market in 2014, will be used for the project. The car is powered by a fuel cell that creates electricity by combining oxygen with hydrogen.
It is believed that this technology can help carmakers build vehicles that do not emit emissions.