Plans are being developed around the possibility of a new hydrogen refuelling station, which if created, could provide a lot of support to hydrogen vehicles. A hydrogen refuelling station would also be extremely beneficial to decarbonising the industry, as mentioned in the UK Government’s updated hydrogen strategy.
There are preliminary plans for the hydrogen refuelling facility to be based in Shrewsbury, due to the place’s proximity to the A5, which is well-known as the international transport corridor. This location has been identified in the past as one of the top 10 best locations for a hydrogen refuelling station.
For a while a UK council has been leading the drive for the development of hydrogen infrastructure, which will help hydrogen vehicles and will align with the aim to decarbonise the industry. Along with this, Shropshire Council has announced their new partnerships which have been created to increase the use of hydrogen within the road vehicle sector. So far, this has been successful and progress is already underway. Furthermore, the council has stated that they are aiming to form a consortium with the goal of developing a ‘small-scale’ hydrogen manufacturing and refuelling plant, within the county. In order to push this goal further, the council held a workshop with key stakeholders, which included academics and industry experts, and they discussed how the potential infrastructure could work. At the meeting the key stakeholders were construction giant Kier, green hydrogen company Protium, energy service Veolia and Midlands Connect.
Following these meeting, the Department for Transport confirmed that one of their plans within the updated strategy, would be to publish the Low Carbon Fuels Strategy at some point later this year, this would be done with the aim of supporting investment within the sector. Furthermore, there is also a plan to publish a Zero Emission HGV Infrastructure Strategy by early 2024. This will outline the roles and responsibilities expected of the Government and industry.
Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for climate change, environment and transport, Ian Nellins, commented, “Shropshire Council is very much looking to the future and exploring a number of innovative projects to help manage its own carbon footprint and influence carbon reduction countywide. I am delighted we are working with key-stakeholders to pull together a broad range of expertise and knowledge with a view to forming a consortium capable of delivering a small-scale hydrogen manufacturing and refuelling plant for Shropshire. By working in partnership, we can draw on a range of skill sets and will be able to access different funding streams to allow progress on this project.”
Principal investigator for the HyDEX programme, Dr Sharon George, spoke on the partnership with Shropshire Council and the progress being made. She commented, “I am very pleased that HyDEX is able to help Shropshire Council with their hydrogen initiatives. The HyDEX programme is all about bringing together our academic specialists with partners in business and the public sector to share expertise and exchange knowledge and ideas.”
Alongside these developments, the Government also decided to award the Advanced Propulsion Centre’s collaborative research and development competition winners, £77million in funding. This will greatly benefit the hydrogen transport industry, as five of the seven winning projects plan to use hydrogen technologies, with some of them planning to develop zero-emission emergency service vehicles.