Norway is the world's third biggest exporter of crude oil and natural gas. However, with the depletion of natural resources and the need to curtail CO2 emissions, Norway began to investigate the practicalities of using hydrogen as an energy source, and launched the HyNor (Hydrogen Road of Norway) national project in 2004. Based on the Kyoto Protocol, Norway is aiming to curtail its average CO2 emissions during 2008 to 2012 to its '1990 level plus 1%'. In recent years, emissions have increased, and in order to meet this target, Norway would have to reduce its emissions by approximately 20%.
Almost all of Norway's electricity is generated from hydroelectric power, which produces no CO2, so even if industry and households were to use less electricity, it will not affect Norway's total CO2 emissions volume. Therefore, the majority of the CO2 reductions are expected to come from the transport sector.
All this has led Norway to look into using hydrogen as fuel for vehicles. Hydrogen has potential because it generates no CO2 and can be produced through the electrolysis of water or from locally sourced natural gas.
Currently, the HyNor project is developing the necessary infrastructure to enable hydrogen vehicles to drive all the way from Stavanger, which lies on the North Sea and is Norway's fourth largest city, to Oslo, the capital city, along a 580-kilometer stretch of highway. In 2009, plans call for the establishment of a hydrogen fuel infrastructure-five fixed hydrogen stations and one mobile trailer hydrogen fuel station.
In August 2006, Mazda displayed the RX-8 Hydrogen RE at an energy exhibition that was held as part of the ceremony to mark the construction of the first HyNor hydrogen station in Norway. This was also the first on-road demonstration of the hydrogen rotary engine vehicle outside Japan. In November 2007, Mazda signed an agreement with HyNor to collaborate in the development and diffusion of hydrogen fuel and hydrogen vehicles.
Mazda will deliver about 30 RX-8 Hydrogen RE vehicles to Norway through the HyNor project.
HyNor signing ceremony
To establish a hydrogen society requires both a hydrogen infrastructure and hydrogen vehicles. Mazda's participation in the HyNor project will enable more comprehensive trials of Norway's hydrogen infrastructure.
Mazda is the only automobile manufacturer in the world to have successfully mass produced the rotary engine. By using this established technology as the base for its hydrogen rotary engine, Mazda has gained a significant advantage.
Mazda's hydrogen engine already has outstanding safety and reliability, and is also extremely cost efficient. The RX-8 Hydrogen RE is extremely practical due to its dual-fuel system that enables it to run on either gasoline or hydrogen.
To date, Mazda has delivered eight units to customers in Japan, and the vehicles are highly anticipated in Norway.
Counsellor, Science & Technology
Royal Norwegian Embassy
Norway is one of the world's leading exporters of energy, and it is advancing hydrogen applications not just with a view to cut national CO2 emissions, but also with a long-term view to commence hydrogen exports. To achieve this, it is first necessary to consolidate a hydrogen infrastructure.
Because Norway is rich in natural gas and hydroelectric resources, establishing a hydrogen energy supply network is comparatively simple. However, Norway does not have the resources to develop hydrogen vehicles on its own. By collaborating with Mazda, with its proven quality, this project has taken a giant step forward. We have high expectations for the continuing evolution of Mazda's technology.
HyNor project member
We are extremely pleased that Mazda has decided to participate in the HyNor project, and we look forward to working together on the road trials as we move towards the commercialization of a hydrogen infrastructure and hydrogen cars. Even with the construction of a hydrogen infrastructure, these trials would not be possible without the vehicles. Mazda has a long history of research into hydrogen vehicles, and has already begun to commercialize them. As such, Mazda's involvement is absolutely critical to our plan.
Mazda's "Sustainable Zoom-Zoom" plan has a lot in common with the HyNor project, and supported by the company's cutting-edge environmental technology, we will work together towards the realization of a hydrogen society.