The arrival of hydrogen cars on UK roads is a step closer as the Business Minister Matthew Hancock announced up to £11m of funding. Government and industry will prepare the UK for the rollout of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).

The £11m investment will:

·       help establish an initial network of up to 15 hydrogen refuelling stations by the end of 2015

·       include £2m of funding for public sector hydrogen vehicles.

This is part of the UK Government’s drive to become a global leader in ultra-low emission vehicles and follows news earlier this month that Toyota has chosen the UK as one of the first markets for its FCEV when it goes on sale next year.

It is just one of the ways that Government plans to decarbonise road transport alongside battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids with £400m of support available in the current Parliament and £500m committed in the next.

Of the £11m announced today, £7.5m will come from Government and £3.5m from industry:

·       £2m of top-up funding to upgrade six to eight existing hydrogen refuelling stations (already operational or under development in the UK) and take them from demonstrator projects to publically accessible sites,

·       £3.5m of funding to be matched by industry for four to seven new hydrogen refuelling stations. This will include mobile stations as well as those on stand-alone sites and integrated into conventional petrol forecourts,

·       £2m of funding for public sector fleets to encourage deployment of around 40 hydrogen FCEVs in focused geographical clusters.

Speaking in Japan where he met executives at Honda, Nissan and Toyota, Mr. Hancock said, “Britain has become one of the best places in the world to build cars, with the value of those we export outstripping imports for the first time in a generation, but we want to go further.”

“Hydrogen cars present us with a huge economic opportunity and can bolster our internationally renowned automotive industry. We want to make the UK one of the best places in the world to design, manufacture and sell ultra-low emission vehicles.”

“Government will work in true partnership with industry so the potential benefits are realised by businesses and consumers across the UK.”

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said, “By 2040 all new cars and vans will be ultra-low emission vehicles and this could be delivered by a variety of technologies, including plug-in hybrids, pure EVs and hydrogen. We want to ensure that support is there for all of these vehicles and that the UK continues to lead the pack in providing the right infrastructure to drive the switch to electric.”

Diana Raine, European Business Manager, Hydrogen Energy Systems at Air Products, the leading supplier of hydrogen fuelling and re-fuelling equipment and infrastructure in the UK, welcomed the announcement, commenting, “We are delighted to see the Government commit to supporting the rollout of hydrogen transport in this way. Hydrogen-powered vehicle technology is proven and ready to be used now. It is not a fuel of the future, it is a fuel for today, and with no emissions at the point of use, it has the potential to de-carbonise the transport sector with little sacrifice to transport performance.”

“This is a hugely positive development for the hydrogen industry in the UK. There are already several Air Products SmartFuel® hydrogen fuelling stations in the UK with plans for more, and we look forward to seeing this network expand as we work with the Government to make hydrogen transport a reality.”

And UK-based ITM Power, the energy storage and clean fuel company, is pleased to note the announcement by Business Minister Matthew Hancock in Japan of £11m of funding to help establish an initial network of up to 15 hydrogen-refuelling stations by the end of 2015 and for public sector hydrogen vehicles. These 15 refuelling stations are “a significant first step towards the initial national network of 65 identified by UK H2Mobility.”

The programme follows on from the work undertaken by the UK H2Mobility project – which brings together leading businesses from the automotive, energy, infrastructure and retail sectors with Government – to provide a ‘roadmap’ for the introduction of fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in the UK.

Establishing 15 hydrogen refuelling stations by the end of 2015 will represent a significant first step towards the initial national network of 65 identified by UK H2Mobility.