ITM Power today officially opens its seventh public hydrogen refuelling station in Swindon. The eighth will follow at Gatwick within the next three months.
The Swindon station, funded under European and UK initiatives, uses renewable electricity and water to generate hydrogen on-site, negating the need for gas deliveries. It is sited at Johnson Matthey, which makes fuel cell technology and believes its catalysts can help enable large-scale production of hydrogen.
Carmakers Toyota, Hyundai and Honda are supporting the venture, with Hyundai set to launch its ‘Nexo’ hydrogen model in the UK “imminently”, according to president and CEO, Tony Whitehorn.
ITM chief executive, Graham Cooley, said the company and its partners were working with local businesses “to develop a significant FCEV (fuel cell electric vehicle) fleet around the new station.”
Electromechanically-derived hydrogen, while using relatively large amounts of power, is clean and does not require carbon capture and storage, which must be implemented in hydrogen production using steam methane reformation if it is to be considered low carbon. Some companies, such as Vattenfall, believe it is a significant part of the solution to decarbonise industry and transport.
Others think hydrogen via electrolysis could help balance the power system. For example, excess wind generation could be used to create hydrogen, which can then be used for transport, and potentially heat applications.
The UK government has committed to £1.5bn in funding for ultra-low emissions vehicles by 2020 and recently announced around £100 million of funding for innovators in ultra-low-emission vehicles and hydrogen technology.