The UK’s hydrogen (H2) economy continues to gather momentum as independent specialist energy consultancy TNEI revealed it has successfully secured 15 planning consents for H2 refuelling stations across the country.

In handling the planning consent process, TNEI has obtained these permits on behalf of ITM Power PLC, an integrated H2 energy system manufacturer based in Sheffield.

The new stations will be constructed across 11 sites in the UK.

The most recent planning permission will see ITM Power integrate a refuelling station into the existing fuel forecourt at a Shell filling station in Beaconsfield. It will be the first H2 refuelling station in the country to be integrated into the existing fuel forecourt, with the H2 dispenser located under the main forecourt canopy.

This site development forms part of the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) HRS Infrastructure Grants Scheme and the Hydrogen Mobility Europe (H2ME) project.

The initial H2ME initiative was co-funded with €32m ($33.4m) from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) and continues to supports the deployment of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and H2 refuelling stations across Europe.

Snowballing

Snowballing the momentum further, a second pan-European infrastructure deployment scheme, dubbed H2ME 2, was launched in June 2016. The FCH JU ploughed an additional €35m ($36.5m) into the scheme, which plans to deploy and operate 1,230 FCEVs and establish a further 20 H2 refuelling stations throughout the continent over the next six years.

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These schemes are expected to accelerate the widespread use of FCEVs in the future, with Dr Graham Cooley, CEO of ITM Power, enthusing, “Our UK network of H2 refuelling stations is expanding rapidly and we value our partnership with TNEI going forward.”

TNEI’s Chartered Town Planner Liz Russell highlighted, “Given the fantastic benefits to the environment of H2-fuelled vehicles, it is great to see the support of local planning authorities in granting planning permission and also encouraging to see that the UK Government is funding grant schemes to allow these projects to get off the ground.”