Two gas distribution networks are exploring the possibility of using hydrogen vehicles to reduce their carbon footprint.
Northern Gas Networks and Wales & West Utilities are working with low emission vehicle research group Cenex to identify what hydrogen refuelling infrastructure will be needed to meet their demands.
The two networks use a wide range of vehicles, many with specific uses and weight limitations. They, therefore, hope that hydrogen will work where electric battery-powered vehicles may not be powerful enough.
Hydrogen fuel vehicles are not yet readily available, but Cenex will work with the networks to produce a ‘heat map,’ to indicate what proportion of existing journeys can be completed by a hydrogen equivalent vehicle.
The heat map will help the networks to understand the number of hydrogen refuelling stations that will be necessary to power their fleet.
The companies hope that this research will allow them to better understand the benefits of using hydrogen-powered vehicles to reduce air pollution and carbon emissions.
Nick McCarthy, technical specialist at Cenex, said: ‘Utilities companies are required to respond to emergency calls and complete essential repairs at a moment’s notice.
‘The vehicles used must carry heavy equipment, travel long distances, travel off-road, and provide power to tools at the worksite. As we look to achieve Net Zero targets, hydrogen is proving a viable solution to these challenges.
‘Cenex will use its experience in hydrogen transport and infrastructure to assist Northern Gas Networks and Wales & West Utilities in measuring the total energy demand of their fleet, including emergency response vehicles. This is the first step towards real-world hydrogen vehicle trials and zero-emission fleets.’
Lucy Mason, innovation manager at Wales & West Utilities added: ‘This project is a great opportunity for us to understand the role hydrogen vehicles can play in our own fleet and help us deliver for the communities that rely on us across Wales and South West England.’
Photo Credit – Northern Gas Networks and Wales & West Utilities