• New regional project to power growth of South West hydrogen sector

• The UK needs more investment in hydrogen infrastructure, according to Alex King, CEO of Tower Group

• Plans include developing hydrogen refuelling stations. 

Hydrogen hub stock image

A consortium led by South West-based hydrogen developer, Tower Group, has confirmed plans to deliver the Exeter H2 Hub - a 5 mega-watt pilot plant with mobile refuelling capability in East Devon, by 2026, 

The Tower Group’s CEO, Alex King, believes the UK needs more investment in hydrogen infrasture; the company’s plans include developing hydrogen refuelling stations. 

The new plant aims to supply hydrogen to fuel cell electric vehicles owned by Wales & West Utilities (which is trialling First Hydrogen’s hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicle - see story here) as well as other utilities companies and local Councils.

The facility will also be used to explore how low-carbon hydrogen could be used to decarbonise industry in the area. The refuelling station will also be open to third parties, including the general public and the private sector, to encourage the growth of the hydrogen economy in the region.

The consortium intends to apply for Government support to advance its ambitions to make hydrogen refuelling a reality for the region.

The Exeter H2 Hub consortium includes Wales & West Utilities, Element 2, the University of Exeter’s Centre for Future Clean Mobility, EMotive, Oort Energy, Costain and Gardiner & Theobald.

”The UK needs more investment in hydrogen infrastructure,” stressed Alex King, CEO of Tower Group: “If we are going to truly level up the country and deliver on the promises of net zero, then we must accelerate our efforts and bring investment and jobs to those places desperately in need. This pilot project takes us one step further towards this goal, with many more to come.”

Tower and Element 2 are looking to build upon a pre-existing agreement to co-develop hydrogen refuelling stations in the South West.

Element 2’s chief development officer Andrew Hagan,said: “Element 2 is excited to solidify our hydrogen refuelling network, bringing our years of hydrogen refuelling and enabling the clean energy and air transition to the South West. Combining with the additional expertise the hub partners bring allows us to build out another fundamental block of our network from Land’s End to John O Groats.”

Consortium member Wales & West Utilities maintain 1,300 vehicles in its fleet, half of which could require hydrogen to meet its net zero targets. Stephen Offley, WWU fleet manager said: Wales & West Utilities believes that hydrogen will soon become the most operationally satisfactory zero emission solution for high energy demand vans. Consequently, we expect to deploy hydrogen-fuelled vans at the earliest practicable opportunity, initially in smaller clusters, that operate within a convenient radius of the hydrogen refuelling location. These clusters will each create significant daily demand for hydrogen and cover almost 90% of our fleet duty cycles: subject to satisfactory operating experience and Total Cost Of Ownership (TCO), we would expect to progressively increase cluster sizes year-on-year’.

Oort Energy is a Bristol based manufacture of PEM Electrolysers, for the generation of pure green hydrogen.Dr. Nick Van Dijk, CEO commented: Oort Energy are delighted to be part of these ambitious plans, that will establish Exeter’s H2 Hub as a leading force in helping to deliver on the UK’s Net Zero objectives. Oort Energy’s innovative proprietary technology will enable a low-cost and high efficiency PEM Electrolyser for the Hydrogen Production and Refuelling Pilot for the supply of hydrogen to local hydrogen fuelled vehicles.”