Royal Dutch Shell Group .com Rotating Header Image

UK hydrogen fuel network grows with new pump on M40

The hydrogen pump at Beaconsfield is the first in Britain to be located ‘under the canopy’ with the fossil fuels CREDIT: ED ROBINSON 

Ed Wiseman: 

A new hydrogen pump has been installed at Beaconsfield services on the M40, the second on Britain’s motorway network and the first to be built ‘under the canopy’ at an existing petrol station.

The machine has been supplied to Shell by Sheffield-based energy company ITM Power. It can be used by motorists to refuell hydrogen fuel cell cars such as the Toyota Mirai, Hyundai Nexo and Honda Clarity.

Such cars use a fuel cell to convert hydrogen into electricity, which is then used to turn the wheels. The only emission from this process is pure, drinkable water, making hydrogen fuel cell cars ‘zero emission’ and among the very cleanest on the road.

This is the second hydrogen pump installed by Shell at one of its motorway service stations, but is the first to be among the fossil fuel pumps under the main canopy. At its other site, at Cobham services on the M25, the hydrogen pump is slightly separate from the main refuelling area.

ITM Power CEO Dr. Graham Cooley said: “ITM Power is pleased to open this new hydrogen station in Beaconsfield which is the first to sit on the main forecourt, alongside the petrol and diesel pumps.“This shows a big step forward in offering Shell customers a clean, green fuel, which is generated on-site, eliminating fuel deliveries.

“We look forward to working alongside Shell to deploy further stations and grow the hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in the UK.”

“We’re delighted to be opening a new refuelling site at Shell Beaconsfield, demonstrating our ongoing commitment to hydrogen as a vital part of the UK’s future transport system,” said Mike Copson, hydrogen business development manager at Shell.

“Bringing hydrogen under the canopy for the first time is a fantastic step towards making it a convenient and viable fuel choice for UK drivers.”

The facility at Beaconsfield can generate hydrogen on-site using water and electricity to make hydrogen gas. This is compressed and can be pumped into cars very quickly; a refuelling time of a couple of minutes is one key advantage of hydrogen fuel cell cars over battery-electric vehicles, which can take hours to be fully charged.

Other benefits include the range, which is significantly better than that of electric cars, as well as the potential ability to generate hydrogen through clean, renewable electrolysis. But there are still barriers that prevent wider uptake among British motorists.

“From a consumer point of view, the two main sticking points are the limited locations where you can refuel and the initial price of the car,” says Mat Watson from independent car buying site Carwow.

“The technology is still in its infancy and it’s more expensive to produce the cars. They require a secure high-pressure fuel tank to store the hydrogen, a fuel cell to convert it into electricity and a battery pack to provide some energy storage, though this is much smaller than the battery packs used for a pure electric car.

“It could be argued that the investment in electric technology has been a bit of a red herring. The infrastructure to support an electric future it is still years away and arguably that time could have been spent in preparing us for a future of carbon neutral, hydrogen powered vehicles.”

The Department for Transport has recently released £8.8 million to improve access to hydrogen infrastructure in Britain. The winning consortium, managed by Element Energy and including Shell, ITM Power and car manufacturers Hyundai, Honda and Toyota, will support the growth of refuelling networks in the UK.

Oliver Bishop, General Manager of Hydrogen at Shell, said: “Hydrogen has the potential to become a significant part of the transport mix in a low-carbon future. Central to this success is collaboration between the Government, energy companies, OEMs and technology experts to create the infrastructure to make access to new fuel options viable.

“At Shell, we are delighted to be part of the latest infrastructure funding effort, and to help drive forward the UK’s hydrogen refuelling network.”

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellnews.net and cybergriping.com are all owned by John Donovan

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: