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Millbrook vehicle testing site prepares for wider rollout of hydrogen transport

Millbrook Proving Ground in the UK has opened a SmartFuel hydrogen fuelling station, supplied by Air Products, as the automotive testing facility prepares for the rollout of fuel cell electric vehicles.

Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire is one of Europe’s leading test and development facilities for whole vehicles, components, and systems. It is the first vehicle testing site in the UK with its own commercially available hydrogen fuelling station, capable of refuelling both buses and cars.

The Air Products SmartFuel hydrogen fuelling station was opened by the new Business Minister Michael Fallon during the recent Low Carbon Vehicle 2012 conference, and represents a major step forward in the development of a hydrogen infrastructure designed to cut carbon emissions from transport.

The hydrogen station’s dual pressure fuelling capability (350 and 700 bar/5000 and 10 000 psi) allows it to power state-of-the-art fuel cell demonstration vehicles that store hydrogen at the higher pressure.

It is the only UK station that has been fully certified by General Motors to the SAE J2601 specification, which means it is fully compliant with safety limits and performance requirements for gaseous hydrogen fuel dispensers.

The Millbrook hydrogen station was developed with partners Transport for London and Air Products, and with funding from the government’s Technology Strategy Board and the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

The investment will further the site’s ongoing development and testing of automotive technologies for lower emissions. It will ultimately help with government decisions around transport fuel policies, which will promote the right fuelling infrastructure across the country.

The fuelling station has been supplied and installed by Air Products, which also recently provided a station to Transport for London to power one of the largest hydrogen-fuelled bus fleets in Europe. And as coordinator of the EU-funded HyTEC project, the company has just opened a new fuelling station at Heathrow airport to power a small fleet of fuel cell taxis.

Air Products is participating in the industry-government UKH2Mobility project, launched in January, which aims to ensure that the UK is well placed to handle the commercial rollout of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by 2015.

Air Products has also recently opened hydrogen fuelling stations in Freiburg and Hamburg in Germany.

‘The new fuelling station at Millbrook provides a strategic link between the hydrogen facilities in London and the Midlands, representing a huge step in the ongoing development of hydrogen infrastructure network in the UK,’ says Diana Raine, European Business Manager for Hydrogen Energy at Air Products.

‘It also shows a real commitment by one of Europe’s leading test facilities to support the development of low carbon transport,’ she continues. ‘Hydrogen transport is a reality now – with the right fuelling infrastructure at the testing and development stage, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can be used across the whole of the UK.’

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Energy infrastructure  •  Energy storage including Fuel cells