Study published by joint government and industry working group forecasts that sales of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles could reach 300,000 a year by 2030
More than 1.5 million hydrogen powered cars could be on UK roads by 2030, according to a study published yesterday (February 4) by members of the automotive and energy sectors and the government.
And, savings of between Â£100 and Â£200 million from reducing damage to the environment and human health from poor air quality could be made each year, if hydrogen fuel cells replace existing diesel fuelled cars, the study claims.
The findings were compiled by UKH2Mobility, a joint project between The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), Department for Transport (DfT) and the Department for Energy (DECC) and Climate Change alongside car manufacturers Hyundai, Nissan, Daimler and Toyota, gas supplier BOC, Scottish and Southern Energy, retail chain Morrisons as well as technology firm Intelligent Energy Ltd.
The group was set up to examine the benefits of Fuel Cell Electronic Vehicles (FCEVs) and ensure that the UK is well positioned for their roll-out onto the market.
As many as 10% of new car customers will be receptive to fuel cell vehicles once the technology is introduced to the market, the study predicts, with annual sales expected to reach more than 300,000.
However, the group acknowledges that a co-ordinated network of hydrogen refuelling stations will be needed across the UK; with as many as 1,150 sites needed nationwide by 2030 if hydrogen is to replace existing fuels.
More detailed findings from the study will be published later this year, and UKH2Mobility says that it will provide a â€˜roadmapâ€™ for the introduction of vehicles and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in the UK.
Commenting on the research, business minister Michael Fallon, said: â€œThe transition to ultra-low emission vehicles has already begun. It has the potential to create really significant new economic opportunities for the UK, to diversify national energy supply and to decarbonise road transport. The findings released today demonstrate that hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles can make a significant contribution to this.
â€œWe already have a strong automotive sector and must ensure it stays that way. Opportunities for the UK to take a leading role in low carbon technologies will be looked at as part of our auto industrial strategy, published later this year.â€
When used as fuel in fuel cell systems hydrogen does not produce any carbon emissions and can help to contribute to the improvement of air quality.
The technology has already begun to be used on a small scale in the UK, including a fleet of hydrogen fuelled taxis, developed by Intelligent Energy, which were used to transport delegates to and from Olympic Games venues during London 2012 (see AirQualityNews.com story).
James Batchelor, managing director, Intelligent Energy, said: â€œThe extensive work carried out by the UKH2Mobility consortium positions the UK as a lead market for the roll out of fuel cell electric vehicles, directly contributing to national decarbonisation and air quality improvement objectives.
â€œThis programme is particularly relevant for UK companies such as Intelligent Energy in building on our leading fuel cell expertise, developing our local supply chains and in creating additional opportunities for our products. We look forward to progressing to the next phase.â€