The UK’s first hydrogen refuelling station has been opened in Swindon, further cementing the town’s reputation as a leading centre for low-emission motoring.
The new state-of-the-art facility is located at the Honda manufacturing site and is operated by BOC.
The facility will produce commercial volumes of locally produced hydrogen from solar power, by electrolysis, at the point of use.
In addition, the station will employ BOC’s filling technology to serve a range of uses including the world’s first hybrid Ford Transit vans running on sustainable biodiesel and hydrogen, the UK’s first hydrogen powered fork-lift trucks, and even a hydrogen fuel cell powered Education Centre on site.
The new facility has been integrated into the existing hydrogen refuelling station, which opened in September 2011.
It is hoped that this facility will be a benchmark for other refuelling stations to follow as well as reinforce the UK’s attractiveness as a location for major car manufacturers to roll out fuel cell vehicles and encourage the growth of a national refuelling infrastructure.
The facility was built by The Consortium, which comprises BOC, Honda, Commercial Group, Swindon Borough Council, Fuel Cell Systems, Briggs Equipment and Revolve.
The partners worked together to secure funding from the Technology Strategy Board to design and commission the facility, highlighting the UK’s leadership in environmental technologies using hydrogen, a low carbon energy source that offers energy security, employment opportunities and economic growth.
Nathan Palmer, BOC director of bulk and packaged gases, said: “This investment is proof of BOC’s long-term strategy, as a Member of the Linde Group, to deliver economically viable and sustainable technology solutions for our customers and society.
“We are extremely proud to be part of this ground-breaking programme and I would like to thank our partners in the consortium and the Technology Strategy Board (Innovate UK) for their assistance in making this happen.”
Nick Rolf, BOC’s innovation manager – hydrogen systems, said: “This enhancement to our refuelling station clearly positions this facility as the best in class in the UK.
“No other facility in the UK has the capacity to refuel vehicles with ‘green‘ high purity hydrogen on a commercial scale and this now cements Swindon’s position as the key location for fuel cell vehicle introduction.
Karen Sperrey, operations director at Fuel Cell Systems said “Using a PEM Fuel Cell to provide both power and heat to a building is a notable first in this power range. The project benefitted from our previous experiences of using hydrogen produced on site for infrastructure power”.
Simon Graham, environmental strategist at Commercial Group, said: “For the UK to meet our air quality and carbon targets, it is essential that we find new ways to deliver the goods and services that the economy depends on.
“Using hydrogen produced from sunlight to power vehicles has the potential to help solve both environmental challenges. Commercial is proud to be part of this consortium that is demonstrating that this solution is no dream but a reality”.