Over the last year the UK has seen a surge of interest, and indeed investment, in hydrogen fuelling for the future. However, it is the latest corporate and government collaboration that will generate an end-to-end hydrogen supply chain and is perhaps the biggest cause for applause.

The project known as rabh2 is a collaboration between Arcola Energy, RE Hydrogen and the industrial gas company, BOC. Launched yesterday at the Innovate11 conference and exhibition in London, the initiative has won Technology Strategy Board backing. It hopes to create a manufacturing and distribution network for low-carbon hydrogen and a suite of fuel cell systems.

Key to the set-up is RE Hydrogen’s developed 5kW electrolyser, which is expected to reduce the capital set-up costs by 90%. According to the trio involved, the plan is to conduct a feasibility study leading to installation of an electrolyser at a BOC UK facility. According to BOC, it is thanks to the lower capital cost that the electrolyser can be powered with environmentally friendly but more expensive electricity. The outgoing hydrogen will be used in a wide range of fuel cells built by Arcola Energy at its East London facility.

Dr Amitava Roy, RE Hydrogen CEO commented, “As 80% of the cost of producing hydrogen with RE Hydrogen electrolysers is affected by current electricity prices compared to only 25-35% for other electrolyser companies, we can reduce the cost of green hydrogen by using the surplus renewable electricity as a means of grid balancing services. RE Hydrogen is pleased to work with BOC and Arcola Energy in the rabh2 project.”

Steve Thompson, BOC Business Manager said: “As a member of The Linde Group, BOC is committed to investing in hydrogen as an energy carrier for the future, as the recent launch of our hydrogen filling station at Swindon demonstrates. Electrolytically-generated hydrogen will be an important part of the future clean energy mix and the rabh2 project could play a key role in taking this to the next stage.”

The project will be launched at the Technology Strategy Board’s Innovate11 conference and exhibition at the Business Design Centre in London on 11th October 2011.