A new £20m competition to support development of hydrogen-powered transport in the Tees Valley has been launched by the government.
The competition will address challenges such as refuelling on a large scale, ensuring buses and coaches can use hydrogen in public transport ecosystems and how to make the supply chain greener with hydrogen-fuelled HGVs.
There will also be an additional £300,000 put forward to support upskilling the local workforce and develop a specialised skills base and pipeline of talent.
Transport secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges this generation faces, and with transport contributing 24% to the UK’s CO2 levels, we are working hard to change things now and for the future.
“Tees Valley continues to be the beacon for hydrogen technologies and will be further supported by £20m going to the best and the brightest ideas that will create a world-leading industry with more skilled jobs in the heart of the north of England.”
Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen said: “With ever-increasing global energy prices, a looming net zero deadline but a real chance to grab the emerging opportunity with both hands, now more than ever, we must be looking to the cleaner, safer and healthier industries of the future, such as hydrogen.
“The first phase of our Hydrogen Transport Hub pilot, at sites including Teesside Airport, has already proved a great success, showing how these vehicles can be used safely, effectively and cleanly in a whole range of ways.
“Now, thanks to this competition, our brilliant innovative businesses can go further to unlock the potential of hydrogen to transform our transport system and undertake vital research that – alongside plans by BP, Kellas Midstream, Northern Gas Networks and others – will cement our area as a hydrogen powerhouse.”
A previous competition earlier this year saw more than £2.6m awarded to various winners to develop 21 vehicles. That included Toyota, which provided hydrogen vehicles for local police forces and HVS trucks which developed a hydrogen-powered van for large supermarkets to deliver large-scale groceries, to offer a solution for when batteries cannot.
Tim Harper, CEO, Element 2, commented: “We were delighted to support the first phase of the Tees Valley Hydrogen Hub competition. By placing three mobile refuelling stations across the Teesside region, we were able to support buses, trucks, cars and industrial vehicles with all of their hydrogen needs.
“The combination of Element2’s hydrogen refuelling with state-of-the-art hydrogen vehicles has proven hydrogen’s effectiveness as an alternative fuel to diesel. With a significant volume of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles expected to arrive in the UK next year, we are well on the way to making the UK a global decarbonisation success story.”