Given the calibre of clients we work with, it’s no surprise that we regularly work on some significant announcements and get to attend some momentous events. It’s always exciting to communicate science or technology that could have a real impact on the world we live in, and the opening of London’s first public-access hydrogen refueling station at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) this month was a great example.
The world’s dependence on fossil fuels for transportation is hugely costly and unsustainable, with demand only set to increase as countries develop and population increases. Hydrogen fuel is the cleanest fuel available. It can be generated using surplus renewable energy supply and water using an electrolyser. This offers a low cost renewable clean fuel, which can be made on-site at the point of use, eliminating the carbon footprint from transporting fuel deliveries.
The main area for hydrogen fuel use is for road transportation, which makes up a huge percentage of transportation emissions worldwide. The UK has a target to reduce carbon in transportation by 90% and in the USA, California were the first to pass legislation on renewable energy mobility with funds being made available to support the deployment of a hydrogen infrastructure.
Due to its zero carbon offering, hydrogen fuel for fuel cell electric vehicles (FECVs) is now high on the agenda in a number of countries with significant government projects enabling the roll-out of hydrogen mobility programmes. HyFive is a pioneering £31 million project involving leading motor manufacturers, hydrogen fuel suppliers, the Mayor of London’s Office and energy consultancies to make hydrogen vehicles a viable and environmentally friendly choice for motorists across Europe. HyFive raises awareness, understanding, viability and uptake of zero-emission hydrogen-powered vehicles. The collective mid-term goal is to grow a pan-European refuelling network and ensure more vehicles are seen on the road.
These programmes are supporting the availability of FECVs to the public, whilst at the same time ensuring that there is a hydrogen infrastructure in place to refuel. The vehicles provide a range of over 400 miles from one tank of hydrogen, and refuel in less than five minutes, and the ONLY emission is water vapour…. No, really!
NPL is hosting the first station to publicly supply the London area, because the cutting-edge research in hydrogen and fuel cell technologies they do there has enabled the infrastructure needed. They provide measurements of hydrogen purity and apply world-leading diagnostics expertise to real world measurements of fuel cell and electrolyser performance and the hydrogen is generated onsite at NPL.
The filling station is open to any Joe Bloggs owning or leasing a hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle. The opening event was brilliant with car manufacturer bigwigs Toyota, Hyundai, Honda Motor Europe as well as fuel cell system manufacturer Symbio FCell showcasing their cars and technologies. Even the pouring rain didn’t deter a real variety of media from The Economist, Forbes, local paper Richmond and Twickenham Times and Reuters TV coming along to report on this momentous occasion.
Our friends at Reuters TV even took a test drive, enabling them to capture footage from inside the vehicle ‘on the road’ and giving them a particularly unique angle on the story. The breadth of coverage we generated around this event just goes to show the appetite everyone has for clean tech – from motoring trades like AutoTrader and Business Car Manager, engineering trades such as Professional Engineering and most importantly – consumer readers of The Times and The Daily Mail.
After all it’s the scientists that invent it, the guys that upscale that into businesses and consumers that buy it that are really saving the world. We just shout about it – get in touch if you think we can do this for you.