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Government–industry funding to accelerate hydrogen fueling, fuel cell cars in the UK

The UK government has announced up to £11 million (€14 million, US$17.7 million) of funding to prepare for the national rollout of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).

The investment by government and industry will help establish an initial network of up to 15 hydrogen refueling stations by the end of 2015, and includes £2 million of funding for public sector hydrogen vehicles.

These 15 refueling stations will help build momentum in delivering a network of 65 refueling stations as identified by UK H2 Mobility needed to give initial national coverage.
Dennis Hayter, Chair of the UK Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association

Planning for future growth

The funding is part of the UK government’s drive to become a global leader in ultra-low emission vehicles, and follows news earlier this month that Toyota has chosen the UK as one of the first markets for its FCEV when it goes on sale next year.

This is just one of the ways that the government plans to decarbonise road transport, alongside battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), with £400 million of support available in the current Parliament and £500 million committed in the next (from 2015).

Support for hydrogen fueling and vehicles

Of the newly announced funding, £7.5 million ($12 million) will come from government and £3.5 million ($5.6 million) from industry. This will target:

  • £2 million of top-up funding to upgrade 6–8 existing hydrogen refueling stations (already operational or under development in the UK), and take them from demonstrator projects to publicly accessible sites.
  • £3.5 million of funding to be matched by industry for 4–7 new hydrogen refueling stations. This will include mobile stations as well as those on stand-alone sites and integrated into conventional petrol forecourts.
  • £2 million of funding for public sector fleets to encourage deployment of around 40 hydrogen FCEVs in focused geographical clusters.
By laying the foundations for a comprehensive hydrogen fuel network, the UK will be catapulting itself to the forefront of the industry, paving the way for a low-emissions future.
James Batchelor, Managing Director of Intelligent Energy’s Motives Division

Economic opportunity in hydrogen and fuel cells

‘Hydrogen cars present us with a huge economic opportunity, and can bolster our internationally renowned automotive industry. We want to make the UK one of the best places in the world to design, manufacture, and sell ultra-low emission vehicles,’ says Business Minister Matthew Hancock, speaking in Japan, where he met executives at Honda, Nissan and Toyota.

He continues: ‘Government will work in true partnership with industry so the potential benefits are realised by businesses and consumers across the UK.’

‘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,’ adds Transport Minister, Baroness Kramer. ‘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.’

There are already several Air Products SmartFuel® hydrogen fueling stations in the UK, with plans for more, and we look forward to seeing this network expand as we work with the government to make hydrogen transport a reality.
Diana Raine, European Business Manager for Hydrogen Energy Systems at Air Products

Building on UK H2 Mobility project

The programme follows on from the work undertaken by the UK H2 Mobility project – which brings together leading businesses from the automotive, energy, infrastructure and retail sectors with government – to provide a roadmap for the introduction of FCEVs and hydrogen refueling infrastructure in the UK.

UK H2 Mobility was established in January 2012 to evaluate the benefits of hydrogen FCEVs to the UK, and develop a roadmap for the introduction of FCEVs and hydrogen refueling infrastructure.

Establishing 15 hydrogen refueling stations by the end of 2015 will represent a significant first step towards the initial national network of 65 identified by UK H2 Mobility in its Phase 1 report in early 2013.

Industry and governments involved

There are currently 12 industry participants in UK H2 Mobility: Air Liquide, Daimler, Honda, Hyundai, Intelligent Energy, ITM Power, Johnson Matthey, Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd, BOC (part of The Linde Group), Toyota, and the Morrisons and Sainsbury’s supermarket chains.

Also participating are three UK government departments – the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Department for Transport, and the Department for Energy and Climate Change – as well as Transport Scotland, the Welsh Government, and the Greater London Authority. The European Fuel Cells & Hydrogen Joint Undertaking is also a participant.

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Energy efficiency  •  Energy infrastructure  •  Energy storage including Fuel cells  •  Policy, investment and markets