The first deal to fully integrate hydrogen refuelling stations (HRS) onto UK forecourts has been agreed by Shell.

ITM Power, the energy storage and clean fuel company, has signed a strategic siting partnership with Shell for the delivery of HRS on three Shell sites in the UK.

Oliver Bishop, general manager of hydrogen, Shell, said: “Shell has signed an agreement with ITM Power with the intention of deploying hydrogen refuelling facilities on three forecourts in the South East of England. Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) could be an important part of a low-carbon transport system – they produce no emissions at the exhaust pipe, only water. If hydrogen is generated using power derived from low CO2 energy sources, such as natural gas with carbon capture and storage, FCEVs can be almost carbon free on a well-to-wheels basis. They can drive similar distances to combustion engines and take only minutes to refuel.

“For hydrogen mobility to succeed, vehicle manufacturers, fuel suppliers and governments need to work together. In Germany, Shell and its partners have set up a joint venture, called H2 Mobility Deutschland, the most promising example of a public-private collaboration designed to progress the commercialisation of hydrogen. Hydrogen is one of a number of options Shell is actively developing to reduce emissions from transport.”

Some of the UK development will supported by government funding. ITM Power announced in March that it had been awarded £1.89m by OLEV (Office for Low Emission Vehicles) to invest in two new HRS in London at strategic locations suitable for use by FCEVs. Both HRS will incorporate on-site hydrogen generation using the company’s PEM HGas electrolyser platform.

Additional financial support of £1.7m is being contributed by the FCH JU (Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking) to provide support for the operation of these stations in the early years. Following the agreement with Shell, at least one, and possibly two, of these HRS will be built under the OLEV scheme.

Graham Cooley, CEO, ITM Power, commented: “This agreement and the OLEV funding for these new refuelling stations in the South East is an important step in developing hydrogen mobility in the UK. These HRS deployments will be the first to be fully integrated on fuel forecourts.”