UK makes first steps towards hydrogen-fuelling network
Among the changes since the early 2000s in the hydrogen economy are the presence today of commercial hydrogen-powered vehicles, from manufacturers such as Toyota (whose fuel-cell-powered Mirais went on sale last year), Hyundai and Nissan, with GM and BMW reportedly planning to launch fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) in the near future.
Admittedly, these are currently expensive and built in small numbers, but they are made on production lines (as are the fuel cells that power them) which, as University College London’s Prof Paul Dodds, who specialises in the impact of H2FC technology on policy, pointed out, is a key factor in reducing production costs and final price, as has been seen with battery-electric vehicles and hybrids in the last two decades.
There seems little doubt that in terms of technology development, fuel cells for automotive application are fit for purpose. The old issue of establishing a hydrogen-fuelling network has still to be overcome, but progress is being made in the UK, starting with filling stations being opened around the M25 using ITM Power plc (LON:ITM) electrolysers connected to on-site wind turbines. This is a small first step, of course; estimates of the number of filling stations that would be needed to cover the whole UK vary.