Two UK GDNs considering new fleet of zero-emission hydrogen vehicles

The purpose of this plan would be to use H2 fuel to meet the government’s Net Zero 2050 targets.

Two UK gas distribution networks (GDNs) are investigating the potential of operating fleets of zero-emission hydrogen vehicles. The goal would be to use H2 fuel to shrink the carbon output from their fleet, aligning with the UK government’s Net Zero 2050 targets.

The GDNs are currently examining the necessary hydrogen refuelling infrastructure for the venture.

Northern Gas Networks and Wales & West Utilities, with the support of the EIC (previously Energy Innovation Centre), are working with Cenex to understand the power demands and H2 refuelling infrastructure that would be necessary to meet the requirements of a fleet of zero-emission hydrogen vehicles throughout their duty cycle. The current investigations will encourage the further development of these renewable energy powered vehicles across the respective GDNs as they push toward a net zero greenhouse gas emission goal.

The participating GDNs operate large fleets comprised of a spectrum of vehicle types. These include machines with a broad range of weight limitations and usage profiles. Many have very high onboard energy requirements in order to power their specialized equipment. Moreover, they must also commonly provide a power source for hand tools when operating in remote locations. H2 fuel would be able to meet those high-power capacity demands in a way that would not be possible using current battery electric technology.

The low zero emission hydrogen vehicles availability provides the utilities with planning time.

“Cenex will use its experience in hydrogen transport and infrastructure to assist Northern Gas Networks and Wales & West Utilities in measuring the total energy demand of their fleet, including emergency response vehicles. This is the first step towards real world hydrogen vehicle trials and zero emission fleets,” said Cenex technical specialist, Nick McCarthy.

As the FCVs needed for the fleet are not yet readily available, Cenex is using the time to examine many different factors associated with their use. It will combine telematics and other operational data for producing a “heat map.” That tool will indicate the proportion of existing routes for which current vehicles could be replaced by H2 powered equivalents. That Zero-emission hydrogen vehicles - Northern Gas Network are working with Cenex, Wales and West Utilities, and EIC, to explore hydrogen fleetsmap will provide the information necessary for the locations and spec requirements for refuelling stations for the zero emission hydrogen vehicles.

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