Currently reading: UK's first Hydrogen fuel station
Birmingham University opens Britain's first Hydrogen refuelling point

Despite a shortage of potential customers, Britain’s first hydrogen filling station has opened at Birmingham University.The station is the first of 12 outlets planned to open nationwide by 2010 and will serve a fleet of five fuel-cell cars. It’s the first part of the infrastructure needed to support the far-off prospect of hydrogen-powered cars in the UK.Professor Kevin Kendall from the University explained the reasoning behind the station: “It is absolutely necessary that we have the means to refuel our fleet of hydrogen-powered cars so that we can carry out our research into the feasibility of hydrogen in a transport context.”The station comes in the wake of news that Honda will sell the FCX Clarity fuel cell car in California this summer. Although Honda have no plans to sell the FCX Clarity in the UK at the moment, it may be swayed by Transport for London’s plans to introduce more hydrogen filling stations in the capital ext year.

Laurence Edmonson

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JJBoxster 18 April 2008

Re: UK's first Hydrogen fuel station

Niall - I'm not 'quick to write off new technology' I'd be a fool to do so. Fact is neither ethanol or hydrogen are 'new'. Both have been around decades and haven't got off the ground (without heavy subsidy). Hydrogen hasn't got off the ground past research stage.

The main problem is its volatility (highly explosive) and if it's not kept cool it emmits huge amounts of ammonia.

But the main engineering and commercial problem is as the energy per gallon figures demonstrate, it is 4 times less powerful per gallon than either petrol or diesel. Hence hydrogen test vehicles carry 2 large gas canisters in the boot space! It's like carrying 10 loaves of bread around when 2 handfuls of sugar would do the same trick.

As Autocars article states to run 5 vehicles they're planning 12 gas stations. If you have the same tank as a petrol/diesel car you will get 4 times less milage out of it and have to fill up 4 times more often.

And regards RED Kens and Transport for Londons plans that means 4 times more heavy tankers entering Londons Con-Zone to refill the gas stations.

There's 2 issues with emissions regards hydrogen. Firstly in the production of which on a commercial basis needs coal or oil to seperate the hydrogen and then alot of energy to compress it into a commercial package.

Secondly the Hydrogen engine lubricants release more heavy metals than equiv petrol or diesel engines.

Finally on the commercial viability. Don't hold your breath, it could be 2030... or never!

NiallOswald 18 April 2008

Re: UK's first Hydrogen fuel station

Maybe, but you can't store energy generated from wind/wave/solar in petrol/diesel, can you?Have you got a link re: metal 'emissions'?

Obviously this is just part of the progress the studies you have read will have based their predictions on. It's not going to happen overnight, is it?

People seem very quick to write off any new technology - it's almost as if they don't want progress. I've said this before, and I'll say it again - given the way things are going politically, anything which promises a future for the car as we know must be a good thing. I'd far rather be driving a hydrogen/hybrid/electric car in 40 years time than taking a bus!
JJBoxster 17 April 2008

Re: UK's first Hydrogen fuel station

There's no emissions benefits for Hydrogen when you include energy in production and the fact Hydrogen cars emit a nastier range of metals than petrol or diesel is also a concern.

The studies I've seen predict Hydrogen will not prove better than petrol or diesel at least until 2020 and most likely 2030. I like the idea of manufacturers bringing out hybrids and hydrogen cars. It makes it easier to identify the anti-car hypocrites who aren't on public transport and practicing what they preech.

Hydrogen 30,000 BTUs - Petrol 125,000 BTUs - Diesel 130,000 BTUs (per gallon)