Fuel cell vehicles might be a way off most of us, but the University of Nottingham is getting ahead of the game with the installation of its own refuelling station.
Installed by Sheffield-based ITM Power at the University’s new £6.5 million Energy Technologies Building, just west of Nottingham city centre, the new electrolyser-driven refuelling station is set to be complimented by a fleet of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles from early next year.
"We'll initially be doing some small trials with dual fuel commercial transit vans which we'll be using to move our own equipment," said Gavin Walker, professor of sustainable energy, told thisisnottingham.co.uk.
"But we will later be looking to work with mainstream car manufacturers.
"They don't see hydrogen vehicles as being commercially viable until 2014 and 2015 so we'll be positioning ourselves as the place in the Midlands to roll out these vehicles."
The refuelling station can provide a minimum 5kg single charge of gas to a vehicle at 350 bar and a supply of 150 bar hydrogen to the University’s laboratory.
It becomes an important new facility for the new 2500 m² Energy Technologies Building constructed on the University’s Innovation Park, as the University’s new centre for bioenergy, hydrogen fuel, biomass and sustainable energy research and development.
The building will provide solar energy via solar panels on its roof, which in turn will power the hydrogen station to produce a truly carbon-free fuel.
One of the fuel cell black cabs developed by Intelligent Energy, used transport VIPs during the London Olympics, will become one of the first vehicles to use the University’s new fuelling station, and will be kept on call at the Innovation Park.
The hydrogen-driven taxi is fitted with a 4kg hydrogen storage tank under its bonnet, which holds enough hydrogen for a 250 mile journey.
Faye has been writing about cars and environmental issues since 2007. A suspected eco-warrior working on the corporate inside, Faye mainly likes the weird, quirky vehicles that show a distinct environmental advantage. Her ideal car has enough room to fit a bale of hay in the boot. When not working, she likes nothing better than to head out on her bicycle and explore the countryside.
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