Heralding the M4 Hydrogen Corridor

September 22, 2011

Trailblazing advances in the use of hydrogen as a fuel in Bristol and Swindon have opened up what is being described as the M4 Hydrogen Corridor.

Cllr Neil Harrison, the city council's assistant cabinet member for sustainability, has welcomed this week's opening of the UK’s first open access hydrogen vehicle refuelling station at Honda’s Swindon car plant. It will be open to anyone developing or using hydrogen-powered cars, vans or trucks.
Meanwhile Bristol is all set to launch the UK's first commercial hydrogen ferry passenger service in the city's floating harbour this autumn.
Cllr Harrison said: "Bristol's pioneering work on the new hydrogen-powered ferry means that we can work hand in hand with Swindon in seizing the potential for this low carbon fuel. The benefits to the city in driving forward this innovation will be significant in terms of jobs and growth in the technologies of the future. I look forward to seeing the ferry in action this autumn."
Dr Chris Tuppen, author of the Smart City Bristol report, said: "Over the next decade hydrogen could be a key economic and environmental opportunity for Bristol and the West of England.
"Compared to electricity, hydrogen is much more difficult to transport. However, it can be generated from electricity and is much easier to store than electricity.
This is why it is vitally important to not only create both local supply and demand, but also connect it to low carbon electricity generation. Swindon's refuelling facility and Bristol's ferry could, over time, see hydrogen take a key role in the low carbon economy."
The hydrogen-powered ferry is currently nearing completion by Bristol Hydrogen Boats, a consortium formed between No 7 Boat Trips, the Bristol Packet and Easton-based Auriga Energy. 
Auriga managing director Jas Singh, who attended the Swindon launch, said: "The opening of the Swindon refuelling facility is a great step in the introduction of truly sustainable transport solution through hydrogen power. We look forward to our leap forward with the operation of the hydrogen ferry for a sustainable economy in Bristol."
Bristol’s Smart City programme was launched in March 2011 with help from the Department for Energy and Climate Change.  It has also received funding from the European Commission which has given the city council more than £300,000 for two projects as part of its Smart City Programme and work will start in the New Year.

The first project will develop a model to monitor energy usage within public buildings such as schools. The City Council will work in partnership with a British systems manufacturer and over 30 partners across Europe, including IBM and CISCO.

The second project will support the further implementation of electric vehicles in Bristol through the development of web-based tools to highlight important information for electric vehicle users such as charging locations and links to public transport options.

This follows the launch in the spring by Council Leader Barbara Janke of the first electric car charging units to be installed in city council car parks.


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