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First commercial ‘green’ hydrogen refueling facility opens in UK

The UK’s first commercial-scale, solar-powered hydrogen production and refueling facility has been opened at the Honda car manufacturing site in Swindon.

Hydrogen for vehicles and a building

The publicly accessible station employs hydrogen fueling technology supplied by BOC, a member of The Linde Group. It serves the world’s first hybrid vans running on sustainable biodiesel and hydrogen, the UK’s first fuel cell powered forklift trucks, and a fuel cell powered Education Centre on the site.

The new facility has been integrated into the existing hydrogen refueling station, which opened in September 2011. It is hoped that this facility will be a benchmark for other refueling stations to follow, as well as reinforce the UK’s attractiveness as a location for major car manufacturers to roll out fuel cell electric vehicles.

No other facility in the UK has the capacity to refuel vehicles with ‘green’ high purity hydrogen on a commercial scale.
Nick Rolf, BOC’s Innovation Manager – Hydrogen Systems

Green hydrogen is key

Designed and commissioned by the SWISH2 consortium, the new state-of-the-art facility is located at the Honda of the UK Manufacturing site on the outskirts of Swindon. The ‘green’ hydrogen is generated onsite using an electrolyser powered by solar energy, to make this a completely zero-carbon hydrogen production facility.

The consortium comprises BOC, Honda, van operators Commercial Group and Swindon Borough Council, stationary unit integrator Fuel Cell Systems, forklift company Briggs Equipment, and Revolve Technologies, which converted the vans to run on hydrogen.

The consortium worked together to secure funding from the Technology Strategy Board (now Innovate UK), and to design and commission the facility.

Using a PEM fuel cell to provide both power and heat to a building is a notable first in this power range. The project benefited from our previous experiences of using hydrogen produced onsite for infrastructure power.
Karen Sperrey, Operations Director at Fuel Cell Systems

Fuel cell powered forklifts

The hydrogen from the main refueling station is also supplied via an underground pipeline to a smaller refueling station inside a nearby factory building.

This hydrogen station is used to refuel two fuel cell powered Yale forklifts, supplied by Briggs Equipment and powered by Plug Power fuel cell modules.

International network

Honda and BOC are both members of the EU-funded HyFIVE project, which aims to create clusters of refueling station networks in three European regions. The BOC facility is Swindon is an inclusive part of this network.

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Bioenergy  •  Energy efficiency  •  Energy storage including Fuel cells  •  Green building  •  Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets