Air Products welcomed the Commercial Group to its Smartfuel® hydrogen fuelling station at Heathrow airport, London, on 20th January to fuel the Group’s first London-based hydrogen hybrid Ford Transit delivery van.

The fuelling was one of many to come as Commercial Group will continue to use the Air Products Smartfuel® station for its growing hydrogen hybrid delivery fleet.

Deployed by Revolve Technologies and operated by Commercial Group, the van is the first of a fleet of hydrogen hybrid internal combustion engine transit vehicles that will soon be deployed in London. The fleet will be delivered as part of the Technology Strategy Board funded London Hydrogen Network Expansion (LHNE) project. The initial van is currently undergoing a test period before the fleet is fully rolled-out over the coming months.

The vans will be used by Commercial Group’s office supplies division, which provides a next day delivery service to customers across the UK. Described by Revolve as a ’specially built demonstration vehicle’, the vans will promote low carbon transport and are designed to show that hydrogen, as a fuel, can be deployed in real life commercial operations.

In addition to Commercial Group’s fleet of vans, Air Products recently signed the UK’s first commercial lease granted by Hyundai Motor UK Ltd, for a new Hyundai ix35 hydrogen fuel cell vehicle to be delivered later this year. This will be one of a number of Hyundai hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to be deployed as part of the project.

The Air Products-led LHNE project will also deliver a new publicly accessible, state-of-the-art 700-bar hydrogen fuelling station. In order to establish a viable and standardised network of 700-bar refuelling stations, the project will upgrade the existing SmartFuel® station located near Heathrow Airport, London, and deliver a new Smartfuel® station of the same specification to another planned London location.

Commenting, Diana Raine, European Business Manager, Hydrogen Energy Systems, Air Products, said, “We are delighted to provide the fuelling facilities that will enable Commercial Group to operate this new fleet, which will demonstrate first-hand how hydrogen vehicles can easily operate in the real world. The deployment of these vans is another important step for the LHNE project, which is bringing together all the components necessary to make hydrogen transport possible across London and the South East. We hope that this model will be replicated across the UK and Europe in years to come.”

Simon Graham, Environmental Strategist, Commercial Group, said, “We are very excited to able to use Air Products facilities to fill our London vans with hydrogen for the first time. We have spent many years reducing the environmental impact of our fleet and hydrogen power offers a huge opportunity to lower it further. We look forward to the insights into the benefits of hydrogen technology that this development will yield. Air Products’ expanding fuelling infrastructure will enable us to operate a pioneering low emission van fleet which could radically reduce the carbon footprint of our deliveries while maintaining the high standards of service our customers expect of us. The LHNE consortium is an excellent example of how, working together, business can reduce environmental impacts and improve air quality in the city.”