Hydrogen transport pilots are to be undertaken in the Tees Valley area by the winners of a £2.5m R&D competition run by the Department for Transport.
The trials are designed to develop technologies enabling supermarkets, emergency services and delivery companies using hydrogen-powered transport to move goods and carry out local services.
Ricardo will work with Stagecoach to retrofit a double-decker diesel bus with a hybrid fuel cell system. The bus will be driven on local routes and learnings from this project will support fuel cell retrofit technologies in public transport across the UK.
Another project sees Toyota delivering a number of hydrogen vehicles, including a forklift truck for warehouse operations, a passenger bus and 10 fuel cell passenger cars. These will be deployed across the town’s rapid response services, such as emergency response units for the Cleveland Police and NHS patient support.
HV Systems plans to demonstrate the use of hydrogen in delivery vans in the Tees Valley area. The vans will be operated in collaboration with a leading supermarket chain, running between 19 superstores and their main distribution centre. The project aims to show how delivery vans fitted with fuel cells can have increased range, faster refuelling times than battery-electric versions and speed parity with conventional diesel vehicles.
In collaboration with Sainsbury’s, Element Energy will also be trialling a hydrogen-powered heavy goods vehicle (HGV) in the Tees Valley area. The vehicle will be operated from a local distribution centre and will be carrying out goods deliveries in the area.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “With less than 100 days to go until COP26, I’m committed to supporting industry to develop innovative new technologies that will decarbonise transport, helping us to build back greener and level up the country. By harnessing the power of hydrogen technology, we can pave the way for its use across all transport modes, creating cleaner, greener more efficient transport systems across the UK.”
The announcement comes weeks after the launch of government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan.
The funding follows the unveiling of an official masterplan for a hydrogen transport hub, which could be fully operational by 2025.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “Through trialling the use of hydrogen in transport across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool, we are spearheading the path to a greener future by developing the knowledge and expertise needed to roll hydrogen out as a fuel source across the country.
“In Teesside, we already produce 50% of the UK’s hydrogen, so there is no better place for this research to take place.”
David Tozer, Head of Land and Maritime Transport, Innovate UK, added:?“Innovate UK is pleased to support these innovative projects across the Tees Valley in partnership with the Department of Transport. Deploying hydrogen vehicles and vessels at scale and showcasing the UK’s long-term aspirations in this space, is essential in delivering UK commitments to decarbonisation.”
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