A new initiative in the United Kingdom brings together three government departments and industrial partners from utility gas infrastructure and global car manufacturers to roll out hydrogen fuel cell vehicles commercially.

UKH2Mobility will evaluate the potential for hydrogen as fuel for low carbon vehicles in the UK before developing an action plan for an anticipated roll-out to consumers in 2014 or 2015.
The group aims to analyze the specific UK case for the introduction of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles as one of a number of solutions to decarbonize road transport and quantify the potential emissions benefits. It will also review the investments required to commercialize the technology, including refueling infrastructure.

In addition, the group aims to identify what is required to make the UK a leading global player in hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle manufacturing thereby paving the way for economic opportunities to the UK, through the creation of new jobs and boosting of local economies.

“The UK is proving itself to be a key early market for ultra-low emission vehicles with growing numbers of electric and plug-in hybrids appearing on our roads,” said Mark Prisk of UKH2Mobility at the Royal Society. “The government is supporting this market by investing 400million ($1.5 billion) to support the development demonstration and deployment of low and ultra-low emission vehicles.

HF vehicle

UK partnership UKH2Mobility joined together to bring hydrogen fuel cell vehicles into the mainstream market in the UK. Credit: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

“Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles are increasingly being recognized as one of the viable options as we move to a lower carbon motoring future,” Prisk added. “They are highly efficient, can be fueled in minutes, travel an equivalent range to a conventional combustible engine and have zero tailpipe emissions.”

Prisk also said the UK has a number of companies that are developing exciting technologies in hydrogen and automotive value chains and noted it is important to identify what is required to make the cars a realistic proposition for UK consumers.

Jerrry Hardcastle, vice president for Vehicle Design and Development at Nissan said, “This is an important step for the automotive sector towards the development of clean vehicle technologies and zero emission mobility. It will lay many of the foundations for the commercial deployment of hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles, which could represent a large segment of the UK market in the coming years.

UKH2Mobility aims to deliver its evaluation of the potential of hydrogen as a transport fuel by the end of 2012. If the results are positive, an action plan will be developed to work through the steps needed to get the UK to be one of the first markets for the global commercial role out of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles.

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