Shell hydrogen pump at Beaconsfield

Oil giant Shell has opened a new hydrogen refuelling pump on the M40 at the Beaconsfield services in Buckinghamshire.

While there are a handful of hydrogen pumps around the UK (mostly around London) the new pump is to be the first one under the same canopy as diesel and petrol pumps. The hydrogen is generated on site using a system that eletrolyses water using electricity to separate the gas.

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) convert hydrogen into electricity and thereby the motor. The only emissions are heat and water. Unlike Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) they can be filled up in just a few moments and have a far greater range. It does cost more power to separate the gas and to compress it enough to be used in an FCEV fuel cell than to charge a battery however.

In a statement Mike Copson, Hydrogen Business Development Manager at Shell, said: “We’re delighted to be opening a new refuelling site at Shell Beaconsfield, demonstrating our ongoing commitment to hydrogen as a vital part of the UK’s future transport system. Bringing hydrogen under the canopy for the first time is a fantastic step towards making it a convenient and viable fuel choice for UK drivers.”

The new Beaconsfield fuel station is the fifth to be supplied by the UK company ITM Power plc and is the first to be opened under the H2ME project. It has been partially funded by the
European Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), and the UK’s Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).

Speaking of the development, roads minister, Jesse Norman said: “Hydrogen has the potential to play a vital role in decarbonising transport, so the unveiling of the UK’s first integrated hydrogen refuelling station is an important step forward.”