The government has announced a £3 million ‘masterplan’ for creating the UK’s first-ever hydrogen transport hub.
Based in Tees Valley, The Transport Hub, as it will be called, will be used to research and trial the suitability of hydrogen as an alternative to electric power and traditional petrol and diesel fuels.
The Department for Transport aims to have the hub operational by 2025, five years before the government’s 2030 blanket ban on new ICE car sales comes into effect. It is claimed that up to 5000 new jobs could be created by the scheme.
While the precise details of the hub have yet to be announced, the government has revealed it will consist of facilities for the production, storage and distribution of hydrogen, linked to a network of hydrogen refuelling stations.
Additionally, the hub will include a dedicated research and development campus. From as early as 2025, service operational trials will begin at the hub that could see hydrogen-powered vehicles serving local shops, supermarkets and transport links.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “By harnessing the power of hydrogen technology, we have the opportunity to bring long-term prosperity right across the country.
“The hub will establish the UK as a global leader in hydrogen technology, paving the way for its use across all transport modes and propelling us towards our  net-zero goals.”
Alongside the hub, the government is also looking to invest up to £4.8m to support the development of a hydrogen hub in Holyhead. Complementing the main Transport Hub, the Holyhead project will focus on the use of hydrogen as a fuel for HGVs.
The UK’s hydrogen infrastructure is currently far less developed than its EV charging network, meaning fuel cell vehicle (FCEV) uptake has been far slower than that of electric cars. But several key manufacturers, including Toyota and Hyundai, remain committed to FCEV development and the government is supporting a new hydrogen platform development scheme as part of Jaguar Land Rover’s transformation programme.