Frist Hydrogen and Wales & West Utilities (WWU) have commenced one-month trials of hydrogen-powered vehicles.
The trials are taking place during winter, which is the gas distribution network’s busiest period for emergency gas call outs. Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are typically affected by the cold temperatures, which can disturb reliability for fleet operators.
While completing First Hydrogen’s Driver Training accreditation scheme, WWU’s drivers performed manoeuvres with the vehicle and completed a call out to a customer’s home.
Additionally, the drivers also practised refuelling the vehicle with green hydrogen, supplied by Protium Green Solutions at Hyppo Hydrogen Solutions’ refuelling unit.
First Hydrogen’s Executive Director Automotive, Steve Gill, said, the vehicles will provide support on how to decarbonise similar fleets and meet operational demands.
“This trial also pilots a hydrogen-as-a-service model to show operators how practically we can support their transition to FCEV fleets,” he said. “With the support of Protium and Hyppo Hydrogen Solutions, we are building a green hydrogen fuel ecosystem for WWU, who are based in an area without access to fixed refuelling infrastructure.”
Stephen Offley, Transport Manager at WWU, added, “Current BEVs do not provide the range, fast refuelling time, payload capacity and towing ability we require. They are also unsuitable for the installation of ‘on board power’ to power pneumatic equipment and high-current electric tools on site, which is critical for the operation of our network.
“Lack of suitable recharging infrastructure also poses a challenge. We see hydrogen-powered vehicles, such as First Hydrogen’s FCEV as the potential zero emission solution that will meet our fleet’s future needs.”
Hyppo Hydrogen Solutions CEO, Chris Foxall, stated the trial is “demonstrating the readiness level of the hydrogen technology available today,” and as a bespoke solution that can be scaled and repeated.