This week the Isle of Wight held its first Ecoislands Global Summit to discuss self sufficiency and sustainability, as the island plans to become carbon neutral by 2020.
Minister for Energy, John Haynes attended the event, along with representatives from over 30 islands and regions from around the world looking to follow in the island’s footsteps.
Arriving on the Isle of Wight to make his keynote address to the gathered crowds, Haynes was collected from the ferry by a Hyundai ix35 FCEV, one of the first prototype hydrogen fuel cell cars in the UK. Driven by the motoring journalist Quentin Willson, the vehicle emits nothing other than water vapour from its tailpipe.
The Channel 5 journalist commented: “Hydrogen is the future of road transport. It’s going to be half the price of petrol or diesel, it’s going to be completely carbon free and it’s easy to make. This is here and now, it’s close enough to touch. With a little more political will the manufacturers will all come together and you’ll see these cars on the road.”
The Minister’s department, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) recently awarded a Technology Strategy Board (TSB) grant to the island for a project to build hydrogen refuelling stations. Led by ITM Power, a new electrolyser hydrogen station will make it easier for the first production hydrogen vehicles to be used with ease on the island, as it prepares to welcome a fleet of fuel cell cars. A second, 15kg/day refuelling station will be used for marine vehicles.
The Ecoislands project aims to make the Isle of Wight energy self sufficient by 2020 and energy sustainable by 2030, with clean transport solutions a key part of efforts to achieve these goals.
Graham Cooley, CEO of ITM Power explains why he believes the Isle of Wight could be an important testing ground for the whole of the UK: “Island systems face significant challenges in terms of energy balancing and high fuel prices. The hydrogen test-bed that we are developing with Ecoislands will allow us to understand how to roll out these solutions across the country”.
“Hydrogen will be fundamental to our future energy mix, providing a balancing mechanism that will allow for increased renewable generation”, explained ITM Power CEO Graham Cooley. “As a transport fuel it provides a viable zero emissions, zero footprint solution; just like conventional fuels it takes 3 minutes to fill your car with enough hydrogen fuel to take you 400 miles”.
The Ecoislands project was first established on the island in 2008, and now counts IBM and Scottish and Southern Energy among its partners.
It would be great to have less pollution on IOW.
November 28, 2012