Costain and Wales & West Utilities partner on hydrogen

Infrastructure firm Costain has selected Wales & West Utilities for a study exploring how hydrogen refuelling stations can be integrated into the UK’s existing gas network.

The research, funded by Ofgem, will explore the potential of using the UK’s natural gas network as hydrogen fuelling infrastructure in anticipation of increased demand for zero emissions vehicles.

It will consider infrastructure solutions which increase the viability of hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs). These low emission vehicles are particularly important for heavy-duty vehicles, which typically have high daily mileage and limited refuelling windows.

The study is part of a WWU initiative called HyDrive, which seeks to address the lack of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure across Wales and the south west of England. Costain’s researchers will consult regional stakeholders to understand current road transport demands, model and forecast future demands on the network, and recommend potential locations.

Laura Hughes, energy sector director at Costain, said:

“Hydrogen will play an important role in the UK’s decarbonisation and energy transition ambitions. Through its HyDrive initiative, Wales & West Utilities is leading the way and our research will help improve understanding of the hurdles which need to be overcome to make hydrogen-powered vehicles a reality.”

Matthew Hindle, head of net zero and sustainability at Wales and West Utilities said:

“HyDrive is a hugely important initiative for us as we seek to reduce carbon emissions across Wales and the south west of England. Having successfully trialled a hydrogen van earlier this year, one of the challenges was the lack of hydrogen refuelling in the area. The trial required us to set up a bespoke hydrogen refuelling eco-system and clearly highlighted the need for permanent infrastructure if FCEVs are to become a reality. HyDrive will help identify the ways in which our extensive gas network could support hydrogen refuelling in the future.

“The lack of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure is not confined to our region and we’re optimistic the project will produce a model which can be used by the broader industry and accelerate the sector’s complicated but pressing road to net zero.”

Image courtesy of WWU

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