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Belgium’s First Public Hydrogen Station Opens in Zaventem

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Toyota Mirai Zaventem © Robin De Raedt

The Toyota Mirai at the hydrogen station in Zaventem
Photo: © Robin De Raedt /Toyota

When you think of Belgium these days, you probably think of the awful series of terrorist attacks that rocked the European country last month. If you’ve never been to Belgium, these attacks might have put you off visiting—but if that’s the case, you’d be missing out. Brussels, Belgium, is a wonderful city that offers a rich culture, an abundance of delectable food options, and glorious architecture that will take your breath away. And now, the suburb of Zaventem, which is home to the Brussels Airport, is the first place in the country to get a public hydrogen station.

The station, which was built by Air Liquide, sits on land owned by Toyota Motor Europe. The station is the first of 20 planned hydrogen refueling stations in Flanders, the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium. The Zaventem station was declared open during a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Annemie Turtelboom, Vice-Minister-President of the Flemish Government; and Nikolaus Von Peter and Robert Schröder from the European Commission.

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The station is part of a project called Small 4-Wheel fuel cell passenger vehicle Applications in Regional and Municipal transport (SWARM-project for short, because that’s a mouthful and a half). The SWARM-project will supply 90 hydrogen-powered city cars to Europe, in the Brussels region as well as the Wer-Ems region in nearby Germany.

Now that Belgium’s hydrogen refueling infrastructure is underway, Toyota will start selling the Mirai there, making it the fourth European country to sell the fuel cell sedan. The three other countries currently selling the Mirai are the UK, Germany, and Denmark.

As the home of the European Union and NATO, Belgium has always been at the front of the pack when it comes to innovation. Rather than relating the country to its recent attacks, we should celebrate achievements such as this one, and urge people to continue visiting Belgium. As someone who lived in Brussels for three years, I’d recommend this beautiful city as a must-see location to anyone who asked me, and the actions of a few cowards will never change that fact.

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