1.5m hydrogen cars expected on roads by 2030

Study published by joint government and industry working group forecasts that sales of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles could reach 300,000 a year by 2030

More than 1.5 million hydrogen powered cars could be on UK roads by 2030, according to a study published yesterday (February 4) by members of the automotive and energy sectors and the government.

And, savings of between £100 and £200 million from reducing damage to the environment and human health from poor air quality could be made each year, if hydrogen fuel cells replace existing diesel fuelled cars, the study claims.

London's hydrogen taxi fleet was forced to refuel in Swindon following delays to the completion of a hydrogen charging point at Heathrow

Hydrogen taxis refuelling at a hydrogen charging point in Swansea

The findings were compiled by UKH2Mobility, a joint project between The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), Department for Transport (DfT) and the Department for Energy (DECC) and Climate Change alongside car manufacturers Hyundai, Nissan, Daimler and Toyota, gas supplier BOC, Scottish and Southern Energy, retail chain Morrisons as well as technology firm Intelligent Energy Ltd.

The group was set up to examine the benefits of Fuel Cell Electronic Vehicles (FCEVs) and ensure that the UK is well positioned for their roll-out onto the market.

As many as 10% of new car customers will be receptive to fuel cell vehicles once the technology is introduced to the market, the study predicts, with annual sales expected to reach more than 300,000.

However, the group acknowledges that a co-ordinated network of hydrogen refuelling stations will be needed across the UK; with as many as 1,150 sites needed nationwide by 2030 if hydrogen is to replace existing fuels.

More detailed findings from the study will be published later this year, and UKH2Mobility says that it will provide a ‘roadmap’ for the introduction of vehicles and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in the UK.


Commenting on the research, business minister Michael Fallon, said: “The transition to ultra-low emission vehicles has already begun. It has the potential to create really significant new economic opportunities for the UK, to diversify national energy supply and to decarbonise road transport. The findings released today demonstrate that hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles can make a significant contribution to this.

“We already have a strong automotive sector and must ensure it stays that way. Opportunities for the UK to take a leading role in low carbon technologies will be looked at as part of our auto industrial strategy, published later this year.”

When used as fuel in fuel cell systems hydrogen does not produce any carbon emissions and can help to contribute to the improvement of air quality.

The TfL hydrogen vehicle fuelling station in Stratford will be upgraded as part of the project

A network of 1,150 hydrogen refuelling points will be needed across the UK by 2030, the report claims

The technology has already begun to be used on a small scale in the UK, including a fleet of hydrogen fuelled taxis, developed by Intelligent Energy, which were used to transport delegates to and from Olympic Games venues during London 2012 (see story).

James Batchelor, managing director, Intelligent Energy, said: “The extensive work carried out by the UKH2Mobility consortium positions the UK as a lead market for the roll out of fuel cell electric vehicles, directly contributing to national decarbonisation and air quality improvement objectives.

“This programme is particularly relevant for UK companies such as Intelligent Energy in building on our leading fuel cell expertise, developing our local supply chains and in creating additional opportunities for our products. We look forward to progressing to the next phase.”


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C.Alvin Scott
C.Alvin Scott
11 years ago

It is clear from the high cost of a plug-in electric car and the failure of consumers to buy them in anything like the numbers forcaste, that hydrogen electric vehicles marketed in the same way will suffer the same fate.
judging by the amount of funding and investment already spent on researching a network, the price of hydrogen will be greater than petrol.
I do have a vested interest, I have a hydrogen concept which takes a house “off-grid” low-voltage electrics, where systematic charging and discharging of bank of batteries produces a hydrogen fuel supply, this can be enlarged to be installed in a motel, already well situated in the roads system to provide a network of fill stations for impure hydrogen.
As part of my wider concept, I have a concept for a hydrogen motor to be used as a series generator, to provide electricity to power wheel station motors for a vehicle.( This is termed Range Extended Electric Vehicles, petrol examples of which include GM Volt/Ampera, REEVolution (Jaguar,Infiniti and Lotus) all of which prove the exceptional mpg.)
I also have a design for a chassis platform, which will be able to take varied body styles.
The Method of producing a hydrogen fuel supply via batteries, is covered by a UK Patent. To meet patent rules I cannot provide details of the hydrogen motor without a Non disclosure agreement being signed.
I have over the past six years contacted, DECC and DfT and BIS during both party’s being in charge. Long drawn out responses to failure to answer at all. In my last letter I suggested that since the Hydrogen Economy involved all three departments they should have a joint group.
The Hydrogen motor will be a competitor for the Fuel Cell. Less costly to develop and in my view it will be much easier and less costly to manufacture than a fuel cell. More frugal than a fuel cell. This could be a Betamax v. V.H.S. scenario again, where the fuel cell is Betamax and the H2 motor is V.H.S..
As a member of The Hydrogen Ambassadors Group on Linkedin, a still current discussion covering “What is holding up the move to a hydrogen economy” the leader of the Group Prof Arno Evers is clear that there needs to be value added for the consumer to buy into hydrogen. To this end he has developed a concept PPP 3+ Personal Power Provider very similar to my own concept but we differ that he has designs on hydrogen from hydrolysis and fuel cell vehicles. We both agree that local or individual onsite generation and individual hydrogen supply will lower the costs to make it cost effective for the householder who is a motorists.
Whilst Honda Motors have already developed their Home Energy Station, which to all intents and purposes will be linked to their Clarity FCX Fuel Cell car which is set to launch in 2018.
The biggest issue I have with the report and the way that Norman Baker is talking is that the motor companies are all foreign owned so how does this get turned into a Britain leading the way. More like the British Taxpayer will fund the research and developments which will be transferred to their own countries, without their taxpayers being involved.
Finally as I suggested to the DfT if my concept was funded to the tune of £1,000,000 about one fifth of the cost of the review, there would be an actual British competitor, which with lower costs people would buy.
Increased employment on a long term basis, exports of the system and vehicles or licensing will all mean an increase in the UK Tax take, whereas future profits from the millions being spent on this route all end up with foreign investor, with taxes if any being paid to some other government.
In the past six years I have written to hundreds of companies, people etc who have expressed green credentials in the press. Not one person has been able to say whether the concept will work or not, simply because they have not even seen fit to take a look at the details. This might well be the system to kick start the hydrogen economy and they have failed to even look at it.
Government figure show that the average UK household annual carbon emissions, including a vehicle, amounts to 10 tonnes with the US household emitting 22 tonnes. Quite clearly a house having my concept installed and a HeZe vehicle, would result in a cut of 10 tonnes per year. It does not take much imagination or more than primary school maths to see that if only 100,000 of the projected 1.5 million hydrogen vehicles used my concept that would cut 1,000,000 tonnes of C.O.2 annually.
Lets be clear about predictions from these departments,
it is not so long ago that they predicted that there would be a million EVs on the road. Even with a £5,000 grant the number of sales of the Nissan Leaf as staggered to plus of 1,200 with Nissan eating humble pie and things not happening as they planned. Plain and simple really there was a greater cost for the motorists which was not acceptable. The business plan missed the range anxiety problem, which was plainly obvious to everyone else.
Regards Al Scott

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