A consortium of companies, backed by the government, are to establish the UKs first network of hydrogen vehicle-fuelling stations across London and the South East.
Work on a three-year, government-backed initiative to expand the use of hydrogen-powered transport in London and the South East got underway today (January 30), a consortium of companies leading the project have announced.
The London Hydrogen Network Expansion (LHNE) project, which is co-funded by the governments Technology Strategy Board, will see a network of publicly-accessible hydrogen fuelling stations set up across the region.
A number of hydrogen vehicles, such as Hyundai hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and Revolve hydrogen powered vans, will also be deployed in London as part of the project, according to US technology firm Air Products. The vans will be operated by the consortium as part of their delivery network.
Air Products, which is leading the consortium, claim it will be the UKs first hydrogen-powered transport system.
The LHNE project will also upgrade the existing hydrogen fuelling station situated close to Heathrow Airport to a fast-fill, 700 bar pressure system in line with the rest of the network being established.
This is necessary, according to Air Products, because car manufacturers have confirmed that the hydrogen vehicles available for purchase in the UK from 2014/15 will require 700 bar fuelling systems.
As well as a brand new fuelling station in London, the project will also increase accessibility to the existing dual pressure fuelling station at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire, and the Transport for London (TfL) station in Stratford.
Fully hydrogen-powered vehicles produce zero-emissions at point of use, as only water is emitted from the exhaust.
Diana Raine, Air Products European business manager for hydrogen energy, said: The LHNE project will bring together all the components necessary to make hydrogen transport possible across London and the South East as we prepare for the arrival in the UK of commercially available hydrogen vehicles. We hope that this project will act as an exciting demonstration model to be replicated across the UK and Europe in years to come.
She added: Air Products is delighted to be leading this project which represents a significant milestone in the development of the UKs hydrogen fuelling infrastructure for hydrogen transport.
There were previously only three hydrogen refueling stations in the UK, and a fleet of five hydrogen-powered taxis were tested by the London Mayors office during the 2012 Olympics to highlight the use of the fuel as an alternative to diesel. However, delays to the completion of the Heathrow station, which has since opened, meant the cars had to travel to a Swindon station to refuel (see airqualitynews.com story).
Executive vice-president at car manufacturer Nissan, Andy Palmer, said in August that the electric charging network in London was key to improving air quality in the capital (see airqualitynews.com story). The company is currently developing zero-emissions, electricity-powered taxis.
The LHNE consortium comprises of Air Products, Cenex, Commercial Group, Element Energy, Heathrow Airport Ltd and Revolve Technologies Ltd and the project is co-funded by a grant from the UKs innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board.
It is one of five research and development projects selected by the Technology Strategy Board in 2012 to help accelerate the adoption of energy systems using hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, bringing them into everyday use. The project us supported by the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority.