A groundbreaking project to ensure the UK is well positioned for the commercial roll-out of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles has been launched, Business Minister Mark Prisk announced today.

The new programme – UKH2Mobility – brings together three Government Departments and industrial participants from the utility, gas, infrastructure and global car manufacturing sectors.

The group will evaluate the potential for hydrogen as a fuel for Ultra Low Carbon Vehicles in the UK before developing an action plan for an anticipated roll-out to consumers in 2014/15.

The project aims to:

  • Analyse in detail the specific UK case for the introduction of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles as one of a number of solutions to de-carbonise road transport and quantify the potential emissions benefits
  • Review the investments required to commercialise the technology, including refuelling infrastructure
  • Identify what is required to make the UK a leading global player in hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle manufacturing thereby paving the way for economic opportunities to the UK, through the creation of new jobs and boosting of local economies.

All of the participants have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to agree to share their knowledge and expertise. Viewed from an industrial gas perspective, the 13 cross-industry participants include Air Liquide Hydrogen Energy, SA, Air Products PLC and the BOC Group Limited.

“The Government is supporting this market by investing £400m to support the development, demonstration and deployment of low and ultra-low emission vehicles”

Mark Prisk, Business Minister

Speaking at the launch of UKH2Mobility at the Royal Society, Prisk said, “The UK is proving itself to be a key early market for ultra-low emission vehicles with growing numbers of electric and plug-in hybrids appearing on our roads. The Government is supporting this market by investing £400m to support the development, demonstration and deployment of low and ultra-low emission vehicles.”

“Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles are increasingly being recognised as one of the viable options as we move to a lower carbon motoring future. They are highly efficient, can be fuelled in minutes, travel an equivalent range to a conventional combustion engine, and have zero tail-pipe emissions.“

“UKH2Mobility will bring together industry expertise to establish the UK as a serious global player in the manufacture and use of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles and the supporting infrastructure,” he concluded.

At the forefront

Air Products is one of the cross-industry participants in the project and Kevin Michaelis, Regional Vice-President, Liquid Bulk/Generated Gases–Europe, said of the scheme, “This project brings together the leading hydrogen infrastructure providers, at the forefront of deployment worldwide, with the common goal of supporting the rollout of hydrogen transport across the United Kingdom.”

“The hydrogen infrastructure sector has been working over a number of years to develop hydrogen transport in the UK. We are very pleased that the progress made is being recognised by the Government in this groundbreaking initiative that will shift the focus from R&D to deployment of hydrogen infrastructure.

News of the UKH2Mobility project also comes just months after the UK’s first open access hydrogen vehicle refuelling station was opened in Swindon, built and operated by BOC, a member of The Linde Group.

Discussing its involvement in the newly revealed programme, Mike Dennis, Business Director for BOC Bulk & Packaged Gases, told gasworld, “Hydrogen has the potential to be a real game-changer in our search for sustainable transport systems. But it is such a huge project to change the way we fuel our networks that there has to be clear direction and support from Government.”

“The launch of UKH2Mobility signals the administration’s intent to develop the infrastructure and the vehicles that will bring about this step-change. Our parent, The Linde Group, was a founder member of the German H2 Mobility programme which has resulted in the establishment of a series of hydrogen vehicle refuelling stations. At present, there is only one commercial-scale refuelling station open in the UK – a joint venture between BOC, Honda and Forward Swindon. We need to replicate this type of station across the country if we are to persuade consumers to adopt hydrogen as a fuel for their cars.”


Cross industry programme

There are 13 industry participants in the UKH2Mobility programme, together with three UK Government Departments, notably The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, The Department for Transport and the Department for Energy and Climate Change in addition to the European Fuel Cells & Hydrogen Joint Undertaking.

Industry signatory parties to the Memorandum of Understanding are: 

  • Air Liquide Hydrogen Energy, SA
  • Air Products PLC
  • Daimler AG
  • Hyundai Motor Company
  • Intelligent Energy Limited
  • ITM Power PLC
  • Johnson Matthey PLC
  • Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Limited
  • Scottish and Southern Energy plc
  • Tata Motors European Technical Centre plc
  • The BOC Group Limited
  • Toyota Motor Corporation
  • Vauxhall Motors