The new ‘SmartFuel’ station will open at Sainbury’s Hendon store later this year, joining a growing network of fuelling stations for hydrogen-powered fleets driving around the capital.

“Hydrogen vehicles are both environmentally friendly as well as efficient so we are really excited about being the first UK supermarket to trial this new technology and make it accessible to our customers,” said Sainsbury’s fuel & kiosk category manager Avishai Moor.

The 700-bar SmartFuel station will be owned and operated by hydrogen infrastructure expert Air Products. It is being delivered as part of the London Hydrogen Network Expansion (LHNE) project, backed by UK Government and co-funded by Innovate UK.

Earlier this month, edie reported that the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) was investing £11m to expand the range of low-emission vehicles available in the UK, with £7m being put towards running up to seven new customer-facing hydrogen refuelling stations.

Big steps

Hydrogen-powered vehicles’ only by product is water, with little sacrifice to transport performance. They can refuel in less than three minutes and offer drivers the same range and speed as conventional vehicles.

A number of hydrogen-powered fleets have already been up and running on London’s roads, including buses running between Covent Garden and Tower Gateway; hybrid delivery vans operated by Commerical Group; and hydrogen-powered taxis across the capital.

Commenting on this partnership with Sainsbury’s, Air Products’ hydrogen energy business manager Diana Raine said: “Making hydrogen technology available at a supermarket for the first time is another big step in encouraging the use of cleaner, greener fuels to reduce air pollution and protect the nation’s health.

“We’re already leading the charge with a network of hydrogen stations across London and this additional station will set us in good stead for the UK arrival of commercially available hydrogen vehicles over the next few years.”

Air Products is one of the sponsors of this year’s Sustainability Leaders Awards, with Sainsburys shortlisted for the Sustainable Building category. The winners will be unveiled in London on 19 November. 

Luke Nicholls

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