Hydrogen Refuelling Station Opens at Honda
UK's first open access station for
The UK's first open access hydrogen
vehicle refuelling station has been officially opened at Honda's
manufacturing facility in Swindon. Built and operated by industrial
gases company BOC, a member of The Linde Group, the venture is the
result of a partnership between Honda, BOC and economic development
company Forward Swindon.
The new station is open to anyone
developing or using hydrogen-powered vehicles. It can fill vehicles at
both 350 bar and 700 bar, the two standard filling pressures adopted by
the world's major vehicle manufacturers.
Based on the grounds of Honda of the UK
Manufacturing in Swindon, the station aims to encourage the development
of both hydrogen-powered vehicles - such as the Honda FCX Clarity fuel
cell car - and the refuelling infrastructure to support them.
It also creates a strategic link half way
along the M4 between London and Swansea. As a fully operational,
commercial-scale station using tested technology, it is a solution that
can be replicated across the country and so create the essential network
necessary for the widespread uptake of hydrogen-powered transport.
Among the many innovations of the new
station is that it can fill vehicles ‘back-to-back' from a bank of
hydrogen cylinders. This means that vehicles can be filled one after
another without having to wait for more hydrogen to be generated.
Another feature is the design: it looks
just like a conventional filling station and the time to fill a vehicle
is comparable with conventional fuels. The Honda FCX Clarity, for
example, takes less than five minutes. For the consumer, then, the
experience should be very similar to refuelling at a normal petrol
Speaking at the opening of the facility,
Richard Kemp-Harper, Lead Technologist for Transport and Energy at the
Technology Strategy Board, said: "The change from conventional transport
systems to sustainable, low carbon alternatives is one that can only be
made through businesses and government working in partnership to develop
innovative solutions. This new refuelling station gives a real glimpse
of the role hydrogen can play in practice. It is a great example of the
kind of collaboration and innovation we need."
Mike Huggon, Managing Director of BOC in
the UK and Ireland, said: "This is the first commercial-scale,
open-access station in the UK. It demonstrates that we can build the
infrastructure needed to establish a hydrogen-powered transport system.
But even with private and public support - as we have here in Swindon -
we need Government commitment to make this work across the country as a
whole. We can provide the tools but the Government has to create the
policy framework in which we can build the low carbon infrastructure of
Ian Piper, Chief Executive of economic
development company Forward Swindon, said: "I'm proud that we have been
involved in such an exciting public-private partnership. Forward Swindon
was the initiator of this project and brought together the funding: it's
a great example of how innovative projects can come to life in the UK,
even in a recession. Swindon's strategic location makes it the natural
home for new transport technologies, and I'm confident this facility
will encourage a growing interest and take up."
Thomas Brachmann, Head of Electrical
Powertrain R&D at Honda, commented: "Hydrogen fuel cell technology is
the ultimate transport solution; meeting environmental demands but also
delivering the range and performance that customers expect. The
cooperation on this project between vehicle manufacturers like Honda,
infrastructure providers like BOC and the public sector can be a
blueprint for future development."