£23m boost for UK hydrogen infrastructure
With all the talk of hybrid and electric innovation, we were recently wondering if everyone had forgotten about the role hydrogen can play in the uptake of low emission vehicles.
So we were pleased to hear the government has announced it will create a £23m fund to accelerate the take-up of hydrogen vehicles by improving UK infrastructure.
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From the summer, hydrogen fuel providers will be able to bid for funding in partnership with organisations that produce hydrogen vehicles such as Toyota and Hyundai in order to help expand the current infrastructure, including fuel stations.
The government will match funding for successful bidders as part of its plans to cut carbon emissions, improve air quality and deliver economic opportunities for the UK. It is hoped that the funding will boost the creation of hydrogen fuel infrastructure and uptake of hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Paul van der Burgh, president and managing director of Toyota, said: “We chose the UK as one of the first international markets for our Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car and are pleased that the government is investing in this programme.”
Hydrogen vehicles can be quickly refuelled using a pump like a conventional petrol or diesel car, but produce only water as a by-product. They also have an estimated range of around 300 miles per tank, meaning they’re much more akin to conventional vehicles than EVs.
However, there are only two hydrogen-powered cars on sale in the UK currently – the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell. On top of this lack of choice, motorists are put off by high list prices and the fact that there are only 14 active hydrogen filling stations in the country – and none between Sheffield and Aberdeen.
A current map of hydrogen refilling stations in the UK
Transport minister John Hayes said: “We know the availability of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure can be a potential obstacle to the take-up of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles.
“The transition to zero emission road transport is both inevitable and desirable as it will improve air quality in many of our towns and cities. Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles can play a vital role.”