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23 October 2023

Protium Launches First of Its Kind Green Hydrogen Project to Decarbonise UK Road Transport

Protium, the UK’s largest green hydrogen energy company, and its partners have been successful in applying for more than £30m from the Department for Transport and Innovate UK to launch the Hydrogen Aggregated UK Logistics (HyHAUL) project to help kickstart the decarbonisation of the UK’s heavy goods vehicle (HGV) fleet.

As part of the UK Government’s zero emissions HGV and infrastructure demonstrator programme, HyHAUL will roll out 30 hydrogen fuel cell HGVs to haulage operators primarily operating along the M4 corridor by 2026, with further ambition to deploy 300 vehicles by 2030.

The haulage sector currently accounts for 19% of domestic transport emissions across the UK and rapid demonstration of viable alternatives to diesel-fuelled vehicles is vital to accelerating decarbonisation of this hard-to-abate sector. This first of its kind project targets the UK’s heaviest, most polluting HGVs, delivering zero emissions HGVs weighing up to 44 tonnes.

Alongside HGVs with attractive operational range and flexibility, HyHAUL will also deploy a network of refuelling stations to ensure viable truck operations across designated routes. Hydrogen will be sourced from multiple green hydrogen projects across South Wales including Protium’s “Pioneer 2” and other projects.

Led by Protium, HyHAUL brings together the long-distance hydrogen HGV value chain that includes green hydrogen generation, hydrogen logistics, refuelling infrastructure providers and fuel cell HGV manufacturers. In its first phase, the consortium partners include ReFuels’ CNG Fuels, Scania, NRG Riverside, and Reynolds Logistics. Trucks will be provided by multiple OEMs. Initial hauliers include established companies and decarbonisation first movers, such as EV Cargo and FSEW.

HyHAUL will provide vehicle OEMs and fleet operators with vital operational data on the performance of first-generation fuel cell electric trucks and will help to remove barriers to wider adoption across the industry. It will also stimulate future demand for green hydrogen, supporting the wider hydrogen economy across the country.

Commenting on the HyHAUL launch, Chris Jackson, CEO of Protium, said:

“HyHAUL showcases the incredible potential for green hydrogen within transportation, a sector that has one of the largest emissions in the UK. Our project provides a commercially viable solution to lower the emissions of long-distance haulage, a notoriously hard-to-abate area of the sector. It also marks a significant milestone in Protium’s ambitious target to reduce the UK’s CO2 emissions by 1 million tonnes yearly by 2030.”

Geoff Tomlinson, Managing Director at FSEW added:

“Hydrogen fuel cell technology is being hailed by many as the future of heavy-goods transport and projects like this are instrumental in providing a choice for road freight operators like us who want to provide a greener, sustainable alternative for our customers. This is just one of many initiatives that is helping us to change our fleet to being net zero. Our primary goal is to achieve operational net zero across our fleet by the end of 2024. We’re already 50% there with a mix of electric and compressed natural gas trucks.

The addition of these hydrogen trucks is a real game changer for us and the industry. Working with Protium and other partners is supporting our ambitions and together we are raising further awareness across the industry of how vital this technology is.”

Philip Fjeld, CEO of ReFuels said:

“The HyHAUL project is an important step towards establishing viable solutions for hydrogen, including testing of the vehicle lifecycle. It is fully aligned with our vision of driving HGV fleet emissions to zero. We are already rolling out a green station network along UK’s major trucking routes, initially offering low-carbon Bio-CNG, but also adapted to green multi-fuel future where hydrogen and electricity are integrated as these technologies become commercially available for heavy-duty trucks.”

Andrew Reynolds, CEO of Reynolds Logistics comments:

“Reynolds Logistics, a leading provider of logistics services, is proud to be part of this initiative and to showcase the potential of hydrogen technology in the HGV sector. Reynolds Logistics believes that HyHAUL will be a great platform to demonstrate the use of green hydrogen to reduce emissions in the HGV sector. We are delighted to work with the all the stakeholders to ensure HyHAUL is successful.”

Russ Markstein, Chief Commercial Officer of NRG Riverside said:

‘NRG Riverside are proud to be part of this great consortium promoting the transition to Hydrogen powered vehicles in the UK market. Along with state-of-the-art fuel cell battery electric vehicles from our partners Electra Commercial Vehicles and other OEMs, we will be enabling the end users to demonstrate Hydrogen technology at work in real world commercial operation, utilising the now expanding infrastructure provided by the wider consortium. Working with partners in this project will give our customers confidence, the ability to change, and a real boost to this emerging market’.

HyHAUL builds on the UK Government’s Hydrogen Strategy and the Welsh Government’s National Transport Delivery Plan to help decarbonise transport. The project provides solutions to the key barriers, from mobilising the full value chain to enabling expansion of green hydrogen production and infrastructure, tied to the development of a self-sufficient, commercially attractive, and scalable zero emission mobility business model for hydrogen fuel cell HGVs.

Roads Minister Richard Holden said:

“Freight and logistics are the beating heart of our economy and it is only right that we celebrate the sector so that it gets the recognition and support it deserves.

“From boosting zero emission tech across freight to attracting the future generation of talent to the industry, we are working hard to drive innovation, create jobs and grow the economy by building a brighter, more innovative future for one of our most crucial industries.”

Decarbonisation Minister Jesse Norman said:

“The UK is at the forefront of the global transition to net zero, and today marks another important milestone to decarbonise freight, one of the economy’s most vital industries. “That’s why I’m pleased to reveal that we’re investing £200 million to roll out 370 zero emission trucks, and a further £2.4 million to pioneer green tech through the Freight Innovation Fund, as we work closely with the sector to create new jobs, grow the economy and reach net zero by 2050.”

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