Government announces £11m hydrogen investment

The UK government has announced an £11 million investment into the construction of a hydrogen fuel network throughout the country.

Proposed by Business Minister Matthew Hancock, the government plans to use the money to create an initial network for 15 hydrogen refuelling stations across the nation by the end of next year.

This proposal represents significant forward progress in the government’s attempt to become a world leader in ultra-low emissions vehicles, as preparations begin for the introduction of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles .

£7.5 million of the funding will come from the government and an additional £3.5 million is provided from industry.

Of the £11 million figure, £2 million of that will be invested into funding for public sector hydrogen vehicles, in an effort to boost the eco-friendly credentials of Britain’s leadership.

Britain to lead the way

Speaking to car manufacturers including Nissan in Japan, the minister said: “Britain has become one of the best places in the world to build cars, with the value of those we export outstripping imports for the first time in a generation, but we want to go further.

“Hydrogen cars present us with a huge economic opportunity and can bolster our internationally renowned automotive industry. We want to make the UK one of the best places in the world to design, manufacture and sell ultra-low emission vehicles.”

The news comes after car manufacturers like Ford, Renault and Nissan signed agreements last year to introduce hydrogen-powered cars to the market by 2017 and accelerate commercialisation of alternatively fuelled vehicles.

Further plans

As well as the plans for the new refuelling network, other efforts to decarbonise British roads include a radical £400 million plan to escalate the usage of all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said: “By 2040 all new cars and vans will be ultra-low emission vehicles and this could be delivered by a variety of technologies, including plug-in hybrids, pure EVs and hydrogen.

“We want to ensure that support is there for all of these vehicles and that the UK continues to lead the pack in providing the right infrastructure to drive the switch to electric.”

According to the project’s plans, the 15 hydrogen stations introduced by the end of next year is only the first step in an ongoing plan to roll out a national network of around 65 stations in the near future.