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Amey trials hydrogen vehicles

Amey has become one of the first public service companies in the UK to generate its own hydrogen fuel on site, as part of a national trial of hydrogen powered vehicles.

It comes as government announced that the UK, including its local authorities, must reduce greenhouse emissions by 50% (relative to 1990) by 2027, as recommended by the advisory Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

Amey is delivering a 10-year contract for Herefordshire Council, worth up to £290 million which includes providing highways maintenance services, street cleansing, maintaining 11,000 street lights and looking after buildings, fleet and plant. Amey and the council worked in partnership to implement a pioneering model, based on the Managing Agent Contractor (MAC) arrangement to deliver services. By implementing this model, they have saved more than £1 million per year and achieved better results.

As part of ongoing efforts to reduce its own carbon footprint, Amey has taken part in trials of hydrogen vehicles organised by ITM Power in association with the Technology Strategy Board. ITM designs and manufactures hydrogen energy systems for energy storage and clean fuel production and is currently undertaking HOST, the UK’s largest cross sector hydrogen trial.

The company delivered two hydrogen vehicles and two 20ft ISO containers – for fuel generation - to Amey’s main Hereford depot. One of the containers houses hydrogen generation equipment which generates hydrogen by ’splitting’ water into Hydrogen and Oxygen using electricity. The pure hydrogen generated is channelled into the second container which houses compression and gas storage cylinders. Specially-trained staff from Amey filled up the loaned vehicles using a dispensing pump similar to those found at filling stations.

Amey used the hydrogen vehicles in exactly the same way it would use its own regular fleet. The trial will generate a substantial amount of data relating to the vehicles’ performance. ITM Power will then analyse all the information from 21 independent trials to compare the performance of hydrogen and conventional heavy fuel vehicles. The aim is to help develop a business case for the promotion of hydrogen vehicles.

Councillor John Jarvis, leader of Herefordshire Council, said: “It is wonderful that our contracting partners Amey have agreed to be part of this trial and are supporting the council's aims to reduce the county's carbon footprint. It is obviously early days with this technology but I will follow its progress with interest.”

Keith Sexton, HSEA director for Amey, said: “Amey is proud to be helping with research and development into hydrogen vehicles.

“Our customers in local authorities are facing severe pressure from Central Government to reduce their emissions and carbon footprint. In addition, Amey has a fleet of more than 4,000 vehicles and fuel makes up about 80% part of our carbon footprint.

“As such we are continually looking for ways to reduce our transport related emissions. In addition to initiatives like fuel efficient driver training, and the roll out of video conferencing facilities, we continue to monitor and support the development of alternative fuelled vehicles.

“The system for hydrogen fuelled vehicles does not produce harmful emissions, provided the electricity is produced using renewable energy or electricity on a green tariff. In addition, unlike other alternatives, hydrogen can be efficiently stored, refuelling the vehicle is quick and simple, and the only substance released into the atmosphere is water.”

Dr Graham Cooley, CEO of ITM Power said: “Amey is a perfect example of the type of organisation we strive to work with at ITM Power. We are delighted to be jointly conducting these hydrogen trials with Amey whose commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility and its drive towards sustainable transport is admirable.”

For more on hydrogen powered vehicles and trial successes, make sure you read the hydrogen feature in the next issue of FNe, being sent out on the 16th of June.

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  • Crummy - 10/06/2011 16:18

    These 20ft containers can make 15kg H2 per day and store it - enough for 3 vans only! They need three phase electricity supply and a supply of potable water. The 350 bar tank in the Transit (and in Ford Focus demonstration vehicle) contains 4.5kg H2 (approx 220 litres) and occupies the equivalent to the full boot space of a Ford Focus Hatchback! The Hydrogen Transit is getting around 70 miles from a tank of H2 (or 15.55 miles per Kg). On an energy basis therefore H2 is 10.46p/MJ (350bar) and diesel is 2.85p/MJ. Note also that diesel pays fuel duty and H2 doesn’t therefore on a duty free diesel (48.21p/l) costs 1.3p/MJ or 8 times cheaper than H2. On a pence per mile basis the figure read: H2 - 55.3p per mile duty free Diesel - 18.5p per mile (8.4p per mile duty free). Finally there is the question of where the electricity comes from as these units operate 24/7 so use both daytime and nightime 3 pahse electricity - hardly carbon neutral... The transit conversion to run on Hydrogen costs £12,000 on top of the base petrol engine version.

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