The UK's first commercial scale solar-powered hydrogen production and refuelling station was launched by a consortium of businesses including Honda and BOC in October.
Honda has had a hydrogen refuelling facility at its factory outside Swindon since 2011, but it can now produce commercial volumes of hydrogen produced by solar power. The plant will mainly refuel the fork-lift trucks operating at the Honda plant and vehicles run by Swindon borough council and Commercial Group, which have been converted to run on hydrogen and biodiesel fuel.
The project is a pilot to discover the cost of owning and using such a facility, technical problems and vehicle efficiency. It was funded by Innovate UK, formerly known as the Technology Strategy Board.
Kate Warren, who works on hydrogen and supply chains at the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, said that the government wants to be at the forefront of ultra-low emission vehicles (Ulevs), such as those powered by hydrogen. Between 2015 and 2020 it is providing £500 million to support development and use of Ulevs.
Honda and Toyota are launching fuel cell car models in the UK in the next two years, while three Hyundai fuel cell cars were delivered to the UK in October as part of a project to create a hydrogen vehicle network in the South East.
Also in October, Sainsbury’s announced that it would build the first supermarket forecourt hydrogen dispenser in the UK at a store in London by the end of the year.