Campus fuels energy study

Motorists driving hydrogen-fuelled vehicles are in luck if they want to fill up — but only if they are driving in the West Midlands.

Birmingham University has launched what is now the only hydrogen gas filling station in England at its Edgbaston campus.

The Air Products Series 100 fuelling station was installed at the university’s department of chemical engineering so researchers could study the viability of hydrogen-fuelled transport as part of Birmingham’s Science City hydrogen energy project.

The engineers will compare five hydrogen-powered vehicles against a selection of petrol, diesel and all-electric vehicles to rate their efficiency and performance.

The results will inform future vehicle design and hydrogen economy infrastructure.

The university has bought five hydrogen-powered vehicles from Coventry-based Microcab Industries, which manufactures small, urban vehicles with zero emissions that are suitable for use as a taxi or light freight carrier.

The aim of the project is to encourage the public sector to consider using hydrogen-powered vehicles, which will then support companies in the supply chain that are starting to commercialise their hydrogen technology.

A hydrogen car is fuelled at the hydrogen fuelling station

Air Products’s fueller comprises an integrated compression, hydrogen storage and dispensing system and is optimised to fuel up to six vehicles a day.

The hydrogen is provided by Basingstoke-based Green Gases, whose compressed gases for scientific and industrial applications are made using only renewable energy.

Lead investigator Prof Kevin Kendall said: ‘We are delighted to be the home of England’s only hydrogen gas filling station.

‘It is absolutely necessary that we have the means to refuel our fleet of hydrogen-powered cars so that we can carry out our research project into the feasibility of hydrogen in a transport context.’

Birmingham University’s study forms part of research carried out in collaboration with Warwick University and is funded by regional development agency Advantage West Midlands. It aims to develop the use of hydrogen energy as a green fuel.

The Birmingham Science City initiative is designed to develop and use science and technology to benefit the region.