Vehicles powered by hydrogen will be a regular feature of the transport scene around Swindon over the coming years thanks to a new two-and-half year project.
The project will start later this year and is part-funded by the Government’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB).
It will assess the potential for integrating the different technologies involved in hydrogen-powered transport, from solar power sources, through hydrogen storage, to the way in which the vehicles can be used and refuelled in day-to-day working.
The project evaluation will look at a number of important factors, from overall CO2 savings, through operating efficiency, to duty cycles and commercial cost benefits.
The vehicles will include vans converted by Revolve Technologies, operated by Swindon Commercial Services Ltd (SCS) and by Commercial Group, as well as fork lift trucks supplied by Briggs Equipment and operated by Honda. The project also includes an innovative low-platinum fuel cell designed and built by ACAL Energy.
BOC's public-access hydrogen refuelling station – the first to be opened in the UK – at the Honda of the UK Manufacturing site on the outskirts of Swindon will be developed so that vehicles can be fuelled with 'green' hydrogen made from renewable solar energy.
Mike Godfrey, chief engineer at Honda of the UK Manufacturing in Swindon commented: “If the low carbon economy is really to deliver a sustainable economy by 2020 and beyond, then it has to operate at a local level. This project will show how green technology can be deployed here in Swindon and make a real and immediate difference to the area.”
Simon Graham, environmental strategist at Commercial, said: “The initial pilot of hydrogen vans for our deliveries in Wiltshire in January was incredibly successful, so we are very pleased to be working with BOC and Honda to roll out hydrogen powered vans here. Swindon has a reputation for innovation and it is apt that it will host this project, watched by companies across the world, to see how green hydrogen can become a reality for business.”