Two low emission hydrogen vehicle refuelling stations in London are to be upgraded after being granted government funding by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).
Industrial gases company Air Products announced today (July 21) that money from OLEV’s Hydrogen Refuelling Stations Infrastructure Grants Scheme would be used to upgrade its two existing London SmartFuel stations situated at Heathrow Airport and also in Hendon in North London.
A spokeswoman for Air Products was unable to confirm the exact funding figure received, but OLEV has earmarked around £2 million to upgrade six to eight hydrogen stations in England and Wales.
Air Products said the upgrades were an “important indicator of the UK’s continued momentum towards an established hydrogen transport network”.
The OLEV funding will also be used to enable the firm to deploy fully-mobile hydrogen fuelling solutions, which will allow vehicle demonstration and testing across the UK, such as in areas where fixed hydrogen fuelling infrastructure is not yet in place.
Both the mobile station and upgraded refuelling stations will use Air Products high pressure delivery trailer, which the firm says improves reliability and minimises forecourt footprint.
Diana Raine, Air Products’ European hydrogen energy business manager, said: “Having already achieved the necessary technical and operational standards, improving the user experience is the natural next step.
“Working in consultation with car manufacturers such as Hyundai and Toyota, we will use the funding provided by OLEV to introduce enhancements to our Heathrow and Hendon fuelling stations aimed at encouraging commercial and public adoption of hydrogen transport.”
The company operates what it claims to be the UK’s first network of publicly accessible hydrogen stations, which regularly supply fuel to hydrogen passenger cars such as the Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell, vans and taxis.
Matt Gorman, sustainability and environment director at Heathrow – where one of Air Products’ hydrogen stations is to be upgraded – said: “We’re pleased to be playing our part in improving local air quality, reducing carbon emissions, and being a better neighbour. By implementing a variety of innovative technologies and solutions, our airport has successfully reduced NOx emissions from the airport by 16%.”
Sustainable fuel development manager for Hyundai Motor UK Ltd, Robin Hayles, also said: “Hyundai Motor UK have for some time been using the Air Products’ SmartFuel Stations. These stations have not only supported the first few of our ix35 Fuel Cell customers but have also allowed us to demonstrate the real world viability of this technology to other potential customers. We are pleased that Air Products have been awarded OLEV funding to enhance the customer experience , since this will further demonstrate that hydrogen transport is no longer a future vision but is already a realistic alternative to traditional vehicle technologies.”
In March, Air Products was also one of seven hydrogen fuel projects to receive a portion of £6.6 million grant funding from OLEV to help establish a network of 12 hydrogen refuelling stations across England and Wales (see AirQualityNews.com story).