New hydrogen refuelling stations to compete for Government grant

The Government's grant scheme supporting the roll out of a UK hydrogen fuel network is now accepting infrastructure proposals for seven new hydrogen refuelling stations.

The £11m investment was first announced in October last year by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), as part of an ongoing effort to expand the range of low-emission vehicles available in the UK.

Of the grant, £3.5m has been earmarked for the development of up to seven new fully functional hydrogen refuelling stations, with £2m available for the upgrade of eight existing ‘demonstration’ stations.

Ricardo-AEA will oversee the submission of infrastructure proposals through its online application portal, before technically reviewing the applications and making a formal recommendation to OLEV.

First steps

Commenting on the project Ricardo-AEA’s senior consultant Lisa Groves said: “We have developed a robust selection process that will enable government and industry money to target the most suitable projects and deliver this new infrastructure.”

Establishing the 15 hydrogen refuelling stations funded by this grant by the end of 2015 will represent a significant first step towards the initial national network of 65 identified by UKH2Mobility.

When the grant was announced, Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said: “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.” 

London’s hydrogen network

Hydrogen powered vehicles are efficient and offer drivers the same range and speed as petrol cars, but are environmentally friendly by not releasing any carbon in exhaust emissions.

Work has already been begun on developing a hydrogen fuel network across London and the South East by a consortium of companies involved in the London Hydrogen Network Expansion (LHNE); a Government-backed initiative part funded by the Technology Strategy Board (now Innovate UK).

The LHNE is delivering 700-bar SmartFuel stations across London, including the first forecourt dispenser opened at Sainsbury’s in Hendon last October. Also in October the initiative took delivery of three new Hyundai ix35 fuel cell vehicles to demonstrate first-hand how hydrogen fuel cell vehicles operate easily in the real world.

Lucinda Dann

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