IDTechEx believes that the window of opportunity for fuel cell vehicles in mainstream applications is closing. Whereas Battery Electric Vehicles BEV increasingly have green electricity, fuel cell vehicles almost entirely use hydrogen from fossil fuels and even that is expensive. They are themselves expensive to buy and run so progress now needs to be rapid if they are to have any hope of competing with BEVs already selling in the hundreds of thousands yearly and coping well even in the heavy duty sector eyed by the fuel cell enthusiasts such as large outdoor forklifts and double decker buses. The following reports some progress though we are dubious whether the world will ever come up with the trillion of dollars needed to install fuel cell charging stations worldwide for cars.
ITM Power the energy storage and clean fuel company, is pleased to have officially launched its third public access hydrogen refuelling station (HRS) and the second HRS in London at the Centre of Engineering Manufacturing Excellence CEME, in Rainham East London. The HRS was opened to the public by Bill Williams, CEO of CEME and Prof Roger Putnam CBE, Chairman of ITM Power. The opening was supported by the automotive OEMs, who also presented and participated in a Q&A session.
The station is the first of its kind using solar energy from a solar PV array at CEME to make renewable hydrogen on-site and is the second of three UK stations to be deployed as part of the pan European HyFive project, which was funded by the European Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking and the Office of Low Emission Vehicles.
Located at CEME in Rainham, at the heart of the Thames Gateway, the HRS lies just off the A13, linking London City Airport and the M25, and is now available for public and private fleets operating fuel cell electric vehicles.
Preceding the station opening, a Hydrogen Rally took place to the finishing line at the CEME HRS from two locations, with journalists and transport industry commentators, some of whom became the first to make the 186 mile drive from a wind hydrogen station in S. Yorkshire to the solar hydrogen station, demonstrating how excess renewable energy can be used and stored as hydrogen gas to refuel fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) in three minutes.
A second rally commenced at ITM Power's hydrogen station in Teddington, West London, crossing central London to CEME and highlighting zero emission driving across the Capital's Low Emission Zone. In total 11 FCEVs took part, provided by automotive OEMs Toyota, Hyundai and Symbio FCell Renault and vehicle owners JCB, Anglo American, Johnson Matthey, Green Tomato Cars and ITM Power.
Bill Williams, CEO, The Centre of Engineering Manufacturing Excellence CEME "As London's Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence, CEME is very proud to be able to offer a site for this hydrogen fuel station and utilise our solar energy to make a fuel for vehicles. It is perfectly located to offer a clean hydrogen source for London and improve air quality for London".
Paul Van der Burgh, Toyota (GB) PLC President and Managing Director, welcomed the opening of ITM Power's new filling station. He said: "This new facility demonstrates the growing momentum in the development of a new hydrogen fuel infrastructure in the UK. This is good news for customers who are keen to adopt the new technology and for the manufacturers of zero-emissions fuel cell vehicles, such as our own Mirai saloon."
Sue Graham Johnston, Managing Director, BOC UK, Ireland and Africa said: "BOC is proud to continue to work with ITM Power in the development of a hydrogen refuelling network in the UK. This is the third deployment of our innovative refuelling station technology with ITM Power this year, with the installation at CEME (Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence) another milestone in making hydrogen a truly accessible clean fuel in and around London".
Richard Kemp-Harper, Head of Innovation and Business Development, Arcola Energy: "Arcola Energy are excited to have demonstrated the clean emission "business as usual" journey across central London in a Symbio FCell Kangoo. The route between ITM Power's latest hydrogen refuelling stations shows how commercial fleets can operate within and around central London without compromise. This enables London and further cities to meet their business, climate and air quality emissions and presents a solution for improving air quality in direct competition to the incumbent diesel powered vehicles".
Julia Thomas, Managing Director, Green Tomato Cars, added: "We are delighted to have another hydrogen fuel station open to support our small fleet of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. We have found the stations easy to use and our customers really enjoy riding in a hydrogen vehicle producing zero emissions."
Dr Graham Cooley, CEO, ITM Power, commented: "We are extremely pleased to have launched the second of the Company's HyFive hydrogen refuelling stations in London providing a link across the city for a range of hydrogen vehicles now available from the auto OEMs. The hydrogen rally was a great way of demonstrating the benefits of these vehicles for both longer commutes and throughout the city. ITM Power is grateful for the co-operation of our HyFive partners and for the funding support of FCHJU and OLEV".
Credit and top image: ITM Power
Learn more at the next leading event on the topic: Electric Vehicles: Everything is Changing. Europe 2017 on 10 - 11 May 2017 in Berlin, Germany hosted by IDTechEx.