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26 February 2024

Hydrogen Ecosystem Trial Leading the Way for Fleet Decarbonisation

Hydrogen storage

Wales & West Utilities (WWU) have partnered with leading hydrogen innovators First Hydrogen, Protium Green Solutions, and Hyppo Hydrogen Solutions to create a hydrogen ecosystem for a hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) trial.

The partners are working together to build a functional ecosystem, using a redeployable refueller and delivered green hydrogen, to provide the flexibility and speed needed to deliver a successful trial. This ecosystem could serve as a model for future UK hydrogen vehicle trials.

Currently, one of the main barriers to the adoption of hydrogen is the availability of both hydrogen itself and refuelling infrastructure in suitable locations. This trial uses hydrogen produced at Protium’s Pioneer 1 facility, one of the first hydrogen production facilities in the UK, and Hyppo's Fuel Cell Systems HyQube redeployable refueller infrastructure. This provides the flexibility and rapid deployment to bring trials online quickly.

This “ready to go” resource allows First Hydrogen’s FCEV to deliver normal operations, a crucial step in the rollout of FCEVs in future. In addition to exploring the vehicle’s suitability for WWU’s requirements, the trial also aims to provide a blueprint that could be replicated in other locations, or to transition trials to full adoption.

Protium’s Chief Operating Officer Jon Constable, said:

“We believe that implementing a rapid trial approach to scaled adoption offers the best approach for fleet operators to decarbonise with hydrogen. Working in partnership to create a local ecosystem reduces risk and lays the foundation for a robust value chain.”

Hyppo Hydrogen Solutions CEO, Chris Foxall, added: 

“Hyppo is helping build a hydrogen ecosystem in the Swansea Bay City region and is already working with partners such as Bay Studios, Swansea University, University of South Wales, Protium and Fuel Cell Systems. It’s great to be able to offer out our service and capabilities to forward thinking companies like Wales & West Utilities and First Hydrogen which will accelerate the hydrogen economy in the area”.

Steve Gill, Executive Director Automotive at First Hydrogen, commented:

“This trial shows fleet operators that hydrogen is a viable zero emission solution for them, even if they don’t have access to fixed refuelling infrastructure. Working with partners, we can offer fleet operators a full hydrogen-as-a-service solution. In South Wales the solution is a hydrogen vehicle ecosystem – we have provided a vehicle for Wales & West Utilities to use, it is fuelled by Protium’s green hydrogen, which is delivered through Hyppo Hydrogen Solutions’ refuelling technology.”

The initiative delivers more than deployment of technology; it is also a strategy to build public confidence in hydrogen as a safe and valuable regional asset. With the Welsh Government's proactive stance on hydrogen in decarbonisation, this trial highlights Wales's leadership in the UK's hydrogen adoption efforts.

Stephen Offley, Transport Manager at Wales & West Utilities, added:

“We’re eagerly awaiting the data and learnings from the trial, particularly as it takes place during WWU’s most operationally challenging period of the year. This information will be invaluable in refining the deployment and use of hydrogen in fleet operations.”

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