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Air Products expands hydrogen tube trailer fleet in UK, upgrades hydrogen fueling station at Heathrow

Air Products has introduced an additional SmartFuel® hydrogen high-pressure tube trailer to its UK fleet. The trailer will deliver large volumes of hydrogen at high pressure to the new, publicly accessible Air Products hydrogen refueling station at London Heathrow Airport.

The developments are part of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) Hydrogen Transport in European Cities (HyTEC) initiative, which is led by Air Products. HyTEC aims to create two new European hydrogen passenger vehicle deployment centres, in London and Copenhagen.

Air Products has successfully commissioned and permanently located the SmartFuel® station at Heathrow, which uses state-of-the-art technology. It has 700 bar (10 000 psi) refueling capability, which is a vital specification for hydrogen vehicles expected to enter commercial operation in the next few years.

The station will now take delivery of its hydrogen from the latest SmartFuel hydrogen high-pressure tube trailer to enter the Air Products fleet.

The SmartFuel tube trailers feature specialised composite cylinders which enable them to deliver hydrogen to fueling stations at a pressure of 500 bar (7250 psi). This is a significant enhancement on the existing 200 bar (2900 psi) industrial hydrogen delivery models, and minimising the need for onsite compression.

Station operators see this benefit translated into lower capital investment in the station hardware, as well as a marked reduction in station operating costs. Reducing the need for onsite compression also leads to higher levels of reliability.

Air Products has demonstrated this first-hand at its SmartFuel bus refueling station at Lea Interchange, Stratford in east London, where on-stream levels are consistently in line with industry expectations. This station refuels the hydrogen fuel cell buses operating on the RV1 route between Covent Garden and Tower Gateway Station.

‘The 350 and 700 bar Heathrow fueling station and the expansion of the SmartFuel trailer fleet represent significant milestones in the journey to establish a long-term, viable hydrogen fueling infrastructure across the UK and Europe,’ says Diana Raine, European Business Manager for Hydrogen Energy Systems at Air Products.

She continues: ‘Air Products is proud to be leading the HyTEC project, which has played an important role in bringing together these necessary components as we prepare for the arrival of commercially available hydrogen vehicles.’

The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking is a unique public-private partnership that supports research, technological development, and demonstration activities in fuel cell and hydrogen energy technologies in Europe. It aims to accelerate the market introduction of these technologies, realising their potential as an instrument in achieving a low-carbon energy system.

The HyTEC project is a partnership between London in the UK and Copenhagen in Denmark. Both cities have taken political decisions to be early adopters of hydrogen technology, and will work together in a pan-European partnership to implement this vision. The 16 members of the HyTEC consortium represent five different countries across Europe.

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