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Multi-million funding boost for hydrogen vehicles

£11 million government and industry funding will establish fuelling network in preparation for sale of first production hydrogen fuel cell vehicles next year

Government and industry funding worth a total of £11 million has today (October 10) been announced towards public sector hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and a new refuelling network in order to boost air quality and cut carbon emissions.

The UK has been chosen as one of car manufacturer Toyota’s first markets for its hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles when they go on sale next year, and ahead of this the government will invest £3.5 million in establishing a network of 15 hydrogen car refuelling stations by the end of 2015.

Hydrogen vehicles, such as these buses which have been running in London since 2011, produce zero emissions to air

Hydrogen vehicles, such as these buses which have been running in London since 2011, produce zero emissions to air

This £3.5 million government money will also be matched by industry, which will fund 4 to 7 new refuelling stations, including mobile stations as well as those on stand-alone sites and integrated into conventional petrol forecourts.

Another £2 million government funding will go towards upgrading 6 to 8 hydrogen refuelling stations already operational or under development in the UK, which will turn them from demonstrator projects into publically-accessible stations.

The remaining £2 million funding announced today by the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) will go towards public sector fleets to encourage deployment of around 40 hydrogen electric vehicles in “focused geological clustersâ€?.

Hydrogen techology

According to DfT, when used as fuel in fuel cell systems hydrogen does not produce any carbon emissions (carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, unburned hydrocarbons or particulates), meaning that its use will contribute to the improvement of air quality and the reduction of CO2.

A large proportion of the electric motor and drive train technology used in hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles is the same as that in other electric and plug-in vehicles.

However, according to the government, the energy storage and conversion differs as the fuel cell is an electrochemical device that can be refuelled quickly. Such vehicles are also highly efficient and produce no emissions or pollutants at the tail-pipe.

Network

The funding follows on from work undertaken by the UK H2 Mobility project to provide a ‘roadmap’ for the introduction of fuel cell vehicles and refuelling infrastructure in the UK.

The project – which involves government and representatives from automotive, energy and retail businesses – identified the need for a national network of 65 hydrogen refuelling station in the UK.

Transport minister Baroness Kramer commented: “By 2040 all new cars and vans will be ultra-low emission vehicles and this could be delivered by a variety of technologies, including plug-in hybrids, pure EVs and hydrogen. We want to ensure that support is there for all of these vehicles and that the UK continues to lead the pack in providing the right infrastructure to drive the switch to electric.â€?

According to the government, the funding is part of a wider strategy to improve road transport emissions in the UK by encouraging battery electric vehicles as well as plug-in hybrids, with £400 million of support available in the current parliament and £500 million committed in the next.

Speaking Japan where he met executives at Honda, Nissan and Toyota, BIS minister Matthew Hancock said: “Hydrogen cars present us with a huge economic opportunity and can bolster our internationally renowned automotive industry. We want to make the UK one of the best places in the world to design, manufacture and sell ultra-low emission vehicles.

“Government will work in true partnership with industry so the potential benefits are realised by businesses and consumers across the UK.â€?

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Martin Winlow
Martin Winlow
6 years ago

Great! So only another 7 thousand to go before there will be the same number of H2 filling stations as there are UK petrol stations… where is the extra £7 billion going to come from, then? Either that or you’ll have to drive up to 100 miles to re-fuel.

Where is the H2 going to come from? Oh, yes… Natural gas. So where is the saving in CO2?

And the cars will cost…? Oh, a snip at £80,000!

Utterly pointless and horribly expensive white elephant. Please put the money into a sensible, Highways Agency controlled, rapid charging infrastructure for electric vehicles instead!

Roland Gilmore
6 years ago

So, for the least polluting technology available and with the need for an initial 65 hydrogen refuelling stations clearly identified, the government decides to spend our taxes on a paltry 15. Typical of our pathetic, regressive UK government to continue backing polluting fuels while delaying giving the people what is obviously the best choice.
It is now well past the point for expensive pilot and token schemes such as this. This will be of no tangible benefit to the people who are paying the taxes for civil servants to play with or our broader environment.