FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Linde, the world's biggest industrial gases group, has taken a 10% stake in Hydrospider AG, a Swiss producer and supplier of hydrogen derived from renewable energy sources, Hydrospider said on Thursday.
Hydrospider is currently building a plant to turn electricity from a hydroelectric station run by Swiss utility Alpiq into hydrogen for trucks to be built by a joint venture of Hyundai Motors and Swiss group H2 Energy.
Alpiq and H2 Energy each own 45% in Hydrospider, whose site will start commercial operations by the end of the year.
"The participation offers Linde the opportunity to actively shape one of the most attractive endeavours for green hydrogen and emission-free mobility in Europe," Jens Waldeck, head of central Europe at Linde's Gases division, said in a statement.
The hydrogen to be produced by Hydrospider will power the first 50 of a total 1,600 trucks Hyundai and H2 Energy plan to bring to Swiss roads by 2025.
The move comes amid ongoing efforts by some carmakers, including Hyundai, Toyota, Honda Motor and Daimler to promote hydrogen fuel cells, which have been hampered by the technology's high price and lack of refuelling infrastructure.
Toyota, which views hydrogen fuel cells as the preferred alternative to electric vehicle batteries, last month said it would supply hydrogen fuel cell parts to Chinese rivals FAW and Higer Bus.
Volkswagen on Thursday confirmed that as a large volume manufacturer it was banking on battery-powered electric cars, adding fuel-cells would only be used in niche areas like trucks and buses and over long distances.
(Reporting by Christoph Steitz, editing by Deepa Babington)