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UK projects accelerate ‘green’ hydrogen energy

In the UK, five new government-backed research and development projects will speed up the adoption of energy systems using hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.

Funded by the Technology Strategy Board and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the projects will demonstrate the use of fuel cell systems and hydrogen technologies in low-carbon energy systems and transportation.

The five projects will show how these technologies can be integrated with other energy and transport components, such as renewable energy generation, refuelling infrastructure and vehicles, to develop whole systems and show them working together.

‘These projects will complement the joint government/industry project UKH2Mobility, which is currently evaluating potential rollout scenarios for hydrogen for transport in the UK,’ says Business Minister Mark Prisk.

The five projects, selected through a competitive process, will be led by Air Products, BOC, ITM Power, Rutland Management Ltd, and SSE (formerly Scottish and Southern Energy). They will involve:

  • The creation of the UK’s first end-to-end, integrated, ‘green’ hydrogen production, distribution and retailing system, centred around a fully publically accessible, state-of-the-art 700 bar (10 000 psi) renewable hydrogen refuelling station network across London (led by Air Products Plc).
  • The delivery of solar energy generated hydrogen for Swindon’s existing public-access hydrogen refuelling station via an electrolyser, and its use in materials handling vehicles and light vans at Honda’s manufacturing plant (led by BOC).
  • The integration, in the Isle of Wight, of an electrolyser-based refueller with renewable energy, enabling zero-carbon hydrogen to be produced for use as a transport fuel for a range of vehicles as part of the Ecoisland project (led by ITM Power).
  • The demonstration of a viable solar-hydrogen energy system, with benefits shared by multiple end-users of a business park in Surrey, through the 24/7 provision of green electricity and heat (led by Rutland Management Ltd, which operates Dunsfold Park and Aerodrome, home of AFC Energy).
  • The demonstration of a whole renewable hydrogen system, connecting a 1 MW electrolyser to the grid, in conjunction with an Aberdeenshire wind farm, to explore the grid impacts and energy storage potential of hydrogen generation, and to provide the green hydrogen produced to power a fleet of fuel cell buses (led by SSE).

The Technology Strategy Board and DECC will provide total grant funding of £9 million (US$14 million), with the total value of the projects – including contributions from the industrial partners – in excess of £19 million ($29.5 million). These projects build on previous government support for fuel cells and hydrogen systems, accelerating the process towards commercialisation.

The £4.66 million ($7.2 million) Isle of Wight Ecoisland project will see ITM Power collaborating with SSE, Toshiba, IBM, Cable & Wireless Worldwide, National Physical Laboratory, Cheetah Marine, Arcola Energy, Ecoisland Community Interest Company (CIC), and Glamorgan and Nottingham universities.

The Ecoisland project will design, build, install, and operate two grid-connected hydrogen refuelling platforms in the Isle of Wight, with 100 kg/day and 15 kg/day capacities, for the operation of a fleet of hydrogen vehicles, including ones from Hyundai, Microcab, and Riversimple.

The vehicles showcased will include fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) cars, hydrogen internal combustion engine (HICE) vans, and a HICE boat.


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Energy infrastructure  •  Energy storage including Fuel cells