Arcola Energy will build a facility to develop hydrogen and fuel cell technology for buses near Liverpool.
The company has secured 15,000 sq. ft of newly-built premises in Knowsley which will house the company’s manufacturing, installation and maintenance facilities.
The manufacturing area of the new site will be used to produce and install hydrogen fuel systems into a fleet of double-decker buses for the Liverpool City Region, after the city region was awarded £6.4m for the project by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles.
The buses have been developed through a partnership between Arcola and Alexander Dennis, the world’s largest double-decker bus manufacturer which added hydrogen double-deckers to its range of zero and low-emission models last year.
The news was praised by Steve Rotheram, mayor of the Liverpool City Region, who said he was ‘delighted’ with Arcola’s arrival in the region.
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: ‘The Liverpool City Region is at the forefront of green technology with a low carbon sector worth more than £2 billion to our economy, employing 22,000 people.
‘We will be the first place in the North of England to trial hydrogen buses, following a successful £6.4m bid to the government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles, and I am delighted that Arcola Energy, one of the partners in the project, has chosen to create its manufacturing and fleet support facility in our area.’
Arcola’s new premises will be able to build, install and service hundreds of zero-emission vehicle powertrain systems within its first year of operation.
The company has acquired enough space to build thousands of systems a year if necessary, reflecting the ongoing growth of the battery and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle market.
Arcola will also be upgrading its existing powertrain development facilities in Hackney, London as part of its expansion.
Dr Ben Todd, CEO of Arcola Energy, said, ‘I look forward to working with all of our partners across the Liverpool City Region and beyond to contribute to delivering the clean air aspirations of the city region.
‘On a personal note, I am delighted to be returning to my childhood home, fulfilling my dream of 20 years ago to build a clean-tech business in Liverpool city region.’
The aftermarket area of Arcola’s new facility will first be used to maintain and commission Renault Kangoo ZE H2 vans, currently the only commercially available hydrogen fuel cell commercial vehicle in the UK.
Alongside buses and vans, the new facility will assist with production and aftermarket support of systems for other vehicles such as trucks, trains and off-road vehicles.
The new site will also support training and education in clean-energy technologies, working with local schools and businesses to build skills and awareness of jobs in the sector.