PRESS RELEASE: Trade body calls for investment in hydrogen to broaden customer choice in green vehicles
A national trade body is calling on the Government to invest in the UK's gas refuelling infrastructure, to broaden customer access to hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles.
The move comes as the Government today (4 Feb) outlined plans to bring forward an end to the sale of new petrol and diesel vans to 2035, or earlier if a faster transition is feasible.
With only water emitted from hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles, the British Compressed Gases Association (BCGA) says the technology is in pole position to make an immediate impact on air quality.
But the Association says that without a national fuelling infrastructure in place, the use of this type of vehicle will be limited in the UK.
Doug Thornton, BCGA chief executive, said: "This announcement from the Government is welcome news indeed.
"There is a growing sense across the UK that much more needs to be done to tackle air pollution.
"That appetite for change means there has never been a better time to consider hydrogen and, in the UK, it is the next logical step on the forecourt.
"The technology is trusted and time-proven and, once introduced widely, will broaden the choice of the car buying public.
"Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles already run successfully in the UK, with filling sites and vehicles, including cars and buses, in use.
"Despite the success of these types of vehicles, the uptake of this type of fuel technology in the UK is low.
"While we see hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles making significant progress across parts of the world, including mainland Europe, America and Japan, a lack of refuelling opportunities nationally has hampered their introduction more widely in the UK.
"We have seen things move in the right direction with initiatives including the Government's announcement in 2017 of a new £23 million fund to accelerate the take-up of hydrogen vehicles and roll out more cutting-edge infrastructure.
"But more needs to be done to ensure the UK benefits from this type of technology and we hope today's announcement represents a significant step forward to open up this opportunity."
David Hurren is chair of the BCGA's Gaseous Fuels Committee, which offers safety and technical expertise to support the UK's move to a hydrogen economy.
He said: "Many people are not aware that, as well as offering zero harmful emissions, hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles have a range of more than 300 miles and the refuelling process - which takes just three minutes - is very similar to that currently experienced at petrol and diesel stations.
"While a battery electric vehicle offers zeros emissions in use, it has limited range and charging is time-consuming. The manufacture of the battery pack and its subsequent disposal also impacts on resources.
"However, a hydrogen fuel cell is still an electric vehicle, but one where the power is not from the grid, but from hydrogen, which in turn can be produced by using renewable sources.
"That's really useful technology for cities, where car owners might struggle to access charging points for a battery electric vehicle."
The BCGA says industrial gases are already emerging as a major force in the quest for greener transportation in the UK.
Mr Hurren added: "We are already seeing a surge in demand for Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) vehicles across the haulage and fleet industries.
"Efficiency savings and lower emissions have led to this rise and an increasing number of fuel stations are introducing CNG and LNG dispensing systems on their sites.
"We now need Government to recognise that gaseous fuels and infrastructure are deployment ready and to reflect that in their statements and policy statements around sustainable transport options."
BCGA has produced two short films to highlight the range of benefits hydrogen fuel cell electric and CNG and LNG vehicles offer. Both are available to view at http://bit.ly/2z2uBDQ
The Association also has a ‘Alternative fuels for vehicles' webpage at http://www.bcga.co.uk/pages/index.cfm?page_id=123&title=alternative_fuels_for_vehicles
Press release issued by Jane Shepherd, Shepherd PR - firstname.lastname@example.org 01538 308685
More on the Government announcement can be found at; https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pm-launches-un-climate-summit-in-the-uk
Notes To Editors - About BCGA
The ‘invisible industry' underpinning a safe, successful and healthy nation - industrial and medical gases are essential to the existence and wellbeing of thousands of people in the UK every day.
Industrial gases perform a wide-ranging role, supporting the manufacture of information technology, as well as key UK industrial sectors including steelmaking, refining, welding, chemical processing and electronics.
They also help keep homes warm, water clean and food nutritious, appealing and affordable - while medical gases play a critical role in applications including respiratory care, pain therapies and anaesthesia.
The British Compressed Gases Association (BCGA) is the UK membership body for this critical industry. With a commitment to stringent quality, safety and environmental measures, BCGA members employ 19,000 people directly and account for an annual turnover of £2.7 billion.
Members of BCGA operate in a highly-regulated industry and work together on technical, safety, health and environmental issues to achieve high standards of integrity and environmental care, both within their own and customers' working environments.
BCGA promotes safety practice through its publications and also participates in the preparation and revision of National, European and International Standards.