In a major step towards greener construction sites, UK-based HS2 has trialled solar and hydrogen-powered welfare cabins across some of its work locations.
Trailed in locations such as Camden, West Ruislip and Uxbridge, the EasyCabin EcoSmart ZERO product is thought to be the world’s first solar and hydrogen-powered welfare unit.
The unit combines both solar and hydrogen power to eliminate carbon emissions from construction sites and are set to be rolled out further across the HS2 project, a new high-speed railway linking London, the Midlands and the North of the UK.
Data gathered for the 16 deployed cabins, over a 21-week period, showed that 112 tonnes of carbon were saved – the equivalent of what would be absorbed by over 3,367 trees annually.
HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson, yesterday visited the construction site at West Ruislip to see the cabins.
Stephenson, said, “As we build back better from Covid-19, it is great to see how HS2 Ltd is using first class solar and hydrogen powered staff welfare pods to cut carbon emissions while supporting workers on its construction sites.”
“Not only are these British-made pods supporting hundreds of jobs, but it is a great example of how HS2 is realising our ambition to be one of the most environmentally-responsible projects ever delivered in the UK, as we transition to carbon net zero by 2050.”
Developed by scientists at Loughborough University, the hydrogen technology replaces traditional diesel power systems and the overall carbon footprint of a construction site.
Each cabin consists of a kitchen, seating area, separate toilet and changing room for workers, with the power to run the heating, sockets, kettle and microwave coming instantly from the battery bank which is constantly fed by the built-in hydrogen fuel cell and solar panels.
GAP Group and AJC Trailers, both part of the wider HS2 supply chain, helped to develop the cabins.
Douglas Anderson, Joint Managing Director at GAP Group, said, ““With an increased focus on the reduction of carbon footprint on projects like HS2, there is a real demand for industries to adopt cleaner fuels whilst maintaining reliability and cost effectiveness.”
“Hydrogen and fuel cell technology have the potential to provide solutions to the UK’s most critical energy challenges – enabling growth while improving quality of life and minimising environmental impacts”
Jav Samsa, Managing Director at AJC EasyCabin, added, “We have designed, built and tested, with the support of GAP Group, this new ‘Patent Pending’ concept, ready for the demands of future CO2 reduction targets. We are proud that our products are recognised and are part of the HS2 project.”