UKH2Mobility Initial Findings Launch

Event Report: UKH2Mobility Initial Findings Launch

Date publishedFormat
04 Feb 2013PDF (477 kb)

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UKH2Mobility Interim Report Launch

Phase one of the UKH2Mobility (UKH2M) Project was officially completed today with the initial findings presented at an event in Westminster, London. The goal of UKH2M was to evaluate the potential for hydrogen as a transport fuel and develop a rollout strategy. This strategy aimed to contribute to decarbonising transport, building economic opportunities, diversifying energy supply and reducing the local environmental impacts of transport.

The consortium of companies included three government departments and fifteen businesses including automotive OEMs, hydrogen producers, technology providers, public-private partnerships and fuel retailers. The group compiled a comprehensive fact base, specific to the UK market, carried out consumer surveys to assess how the public would respond to hydrogen vehicles and combined all their data into a roadmap for the deployment of hydrogen refuelling stations (HRS).

Positive responses to consumer market research were received, with fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) scoring highly in terms of range, performance and refuelling time. Despite finding potential early adopters of FCEV technology were willing to pay a premium during the life of the vehicle, incentives were identified as important during the early stages of rollout.

Three phases were identified for the rollout of the project, initially 65 HRS to be deployed by 2015 would be sufficient to service major population centres and connecting roads. Before 2025, 330 HRS expand the regions hydrogen is available to provide close-to-home refuelling for 50% of the UK population. By 2030, full coverage could be achieved with the deployment of 1,500 HRS.

During this time, the production mix of hydrogen was modelled to change from current methods (mainly steam methane reforming) to a mix containing more than 50% water electrolysis. This was found to lower carbon dioxide emissions by 75% by 2030 versus diesel engines.

Funding for the stations would be needed before 2020 in order to support the small early fleet of FCEV. From this point, HRS were found to be operationally breakeven during the early part of the decade and total cashflow breakeven from the middle of the decade.

With the main presentation finished, the floor was opened for questions. The role of return-to-base (R2B) vehicles was the topic of a couple of questions, but these were not included in UKH2M because the project was focussed on public infrastructure. Nevertheless, R2B vehicles will be an important part of the future for FCEV simply because the private hydrogen stations can enjoy high levels of utilisation from day one. For public refuelling infrastructure, Graham Cooley from ITM Power commented that the consortium focussed on HRS sizes of 80 kg/day, finding they provided the best balance between cost and coverage. Larger stations of 200 kg/day and up to 400 kg/day were also considered as part of the wider rollout strategy. Reassurance on the safety of hydrogen was requested, and Eric Prades from Air Liquide commented that hydrogen has been used extensively by industry with an extremely safe record for the past 40 years, and the current industrial merchant market for hydrogen is equivalent in size to that required to fuel 300,000 FCEV.

The report focusses on passenger vehicles and one question was whether mass transit or commercial vehicles were included. Akihito Tanke from Toyota Motors said that his company is developing fuel cells for materials handling applications, and through its commercial arm, Hino, was also developing fuel cell buses. When asked what made the UK project different to those seen in other countries, James Bachelor from Intelligent Energy said the time and effort focussing on understanding the needs of the UK consumer was an important point; Akihito Tanke added the serious involvement of the UK government from the start of the project was also extremely helpful. Graham Cooley called for policy stability and said that this is key to attracting investment and to changing any first-mover disadvantage into a first-mover advantage.

Dan Carter     Manager

Photo: UKH2Mobility members launch the interim report in Westminster (Source: Dan Carter)


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