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London Hydrogen Network to showcase fuel cell range in M25 marathon

Hyundai announces pricing of hydrogen-powered ix35

The London Hydrogen Network Expansion programme (LHNE) is set to showcase the benefits and range of fuel cell vehicles with a five day and night marathon around the M25.

The partners of the government-backed London Hydrogen Network Expansion project (LHNE) will attempt to set new records for the longest journey on one tank of hydrogen (existing record 435 miles) and the longest continuous FCEV journey (6,024 miles).

The record attempts, which will start on Monday, March 14, are part of the project’s efforts to increase awareness of the benefits of hydrogen-fuelled cars and their environmental credentials. Hydrogen FCEVs produce no harmful tailpipe emissions with water being the only by-product. With range and refuelling times similar to those of petrol or diesel cars, they can be seen as direct replacements for conventional vehicles.

A series of drivers, including members of the media, will take the wheel of a Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle which will complete approximately 50 clockwise laps of the M25 between Monday and Friday next week.

LHNE, co-funded by Innovate UK, was set up in 2012 to create the UK’s first hydrogen-powered transport system across London and the South East. It has delivered a new publicly-accessible, state-of-the-art fast-fill SmartFuel hydrogen refuelling station and upgraded a second to the requisite 700 bar pressure status.

Hyundai Motor’s ix35 Fuel Cell car has been commercially available since 2014 and, last year, Toyota introduced its Mirai FCEV to the market. Honda, Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen and Audi are among several manufacturers known to be developing FCEVs to be launched in the coming years.

The LHNE partners are now keen for the adoption of hydrogen fuel cell technology to accelerate in the UK but one of the main challenges is the limited coverage of refuelling stations to support the vehicles. There are currently six stations in the UK, including the two public Air Products SmartFuel stations in London and funding is in place for at least 12 to be operational in England and Scotland within the next 12 months. 

Diana Raine, European business manager - hydrogen energy systems at Air Products, which has led the LHNE project, said: “The LHNE project is part of a range of hydrogen transport initiatives; many companies, organisations and bodies have been working for several years to establish the foundations of a hydrogen transport system in the UK.

“Although much progress has been made, limited refuelling station coverage is one of the main issues restricting further uptake of FCEVs in the UK. A further public-private sector push will be required to move the sector to the next level.”

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  • Reg Dixon - 07/03/2016 11:36

    Does anyone know why we need fuel cells. I seem to remember that BMW years ago demonstrated a car using hydrogen in a piston engine.

  • C.A.Scott - 12/03/2016 15:56

    It may well prove to be the case that Hydrogen Fuel stations will be an expensive white elephant. The future will be Hydrogen production on board the Electric Vehicle. I one such concept at present and had funding been provided 12 months ago there would be proof to see the future. Selective funding and disenfranchising of individual innovators. This London Marathon is little proof, I intend to complete a Proof of Concept journey from Lands End to John O'Groates and return, with Hydrogen and Oxygen fuel from water. HyPulJet.2.0 Hydrogen and Oxygen Pulse Jet Rotary Engine - generator

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