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£8m investment announced for Tees Valley hydrogen transport hub

When it was announced two years ago, the purpose of the Tees Valley hydrogen transport hub was described as being to ‘bring together leading figures from government, industry and academia to focus research, testing and trials across all transport modes.’

At the same time, the Government launched a £3m hydrogen transport competition. One of beneficiaries of which was a joint Ricardo/Stagecoach bid to demonstrate a retrofit hydrogen fuel cell bus, another was Toyota, who provided hydrogen vehicles for local police forces.

The second round of funding was launched with a competition which invited ideas on how to overcome some of the challenges of scaling-up hydrogen technology, such as refuelling on a large scale and making the region’s supply chain greener with hydrogen-fuelled vans and HGVs. As a result of that competition, two projects have been invited to develop their ideas with a share of £8m.

Hydrogen fuel engineering firm ULEMCo – who have previously partnered with Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service – will receive a share of the funding to develop hydrogen-powered airport ground-based support vehicles for Teesside international airport. The vehicles will include tow trucks for aircraft and sweepers to clean runways. 

Element 2, who aim to create a national network of hydrogen refuelling stations have received funding to create four new, publicly accessible refuelling stations. These will be used to fuel a range of vehicles, from airside vehicles to heavy goods vehicles, including supermarket delivery trucks.

£300,000 has also been allocated to local colleges to support upskilling the local workforce and develop a pipeline of talent, to confirm the Tees Valley hub as the UK’s home of hydrogen.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: ”Today’s winners illustrate the expertise the Tees Valley has as a pioneer in developing hydrogen tech. This investment will provide a further boost to the economy, creating skilled jobs and apprenticeships across the North East.’

Phil Forster, Managing Director of Teesside International Airport, said: ‘We’re working hard to make Teesside an airport people can be proud of – and that doesn’t just mean flying to the destinations people love. It’s about acting responsibly, for the good of our local people and businesses and the future of our planet.

‘This hydrogen refuelling station does just that, by proving this new technology is safe and reliable, and can be used across all sorts of applications. This makes it clear Teesside is helping to pioneer both the aviation industry and the clean energy sector.’

Innovate UK Executive Director for Net Zero, Mike Biddle, said: ‘Today’s announcement of these new projects in the Tees Valley further adds to our significant partnership with DfT to accelerate new technologies to decarbonise transport. This includes nearly £300 million of investment from DfT via Innovate UK in transport decarbonisation across maritime, heavy goods vehicles and hydrogen.’

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