Promoting a cleaner future

Article Categories

Hydrogen Explained


Honda unveils first UK Hydrogen filling station open to the general public

Air Product's Municipal Wastewater Facility in OC

The UK’s first Hydrogen filling station open to the general public has been unveiled at Honda’s South Marston manufacturing facility in Swindon.

BOC has provided the hydrogen refuelling station in collaboration with Forward Swindon, Swindon Borough Council's regeneration body.  Forward Swindon was awarded a £250,000 grant from the South West England Regional Development Agency in order to build the filling station. As one of the project partners, BOC is also providing further private sector funding to the venture. The project aims to encourage Honda to research and develop new hydrogen-powered cars at its Swindon plant. Currently the FCX Clarity (Honda’s first production line fuel cell car) is only being manufactured in Japan.

The infrastructure is intended to kick-start the use of Hydrogen powered vehicles and hopefully start to build a hydrogen economy in the local area. Ian Piper, Chief Executive of Forward Swindon commented, "The automative and car-making sector is very important to Swindon, and it's important for Swindon to be at the leading edge in this way."

The filling station itself is based upon BOC’s Hydrogen Max Fueller 90 refuelling station. It can provide refuelling capability at both 350 & 700 bar and is capable of refilling 4 cars per hour.  In order to use stored pressure and compressor capacity in the most cost-efficient manner, the station has a three-bank cascade system. It consists of three pressure storage banks (buffer sections) in which the hydrogen for the refuelling is stored.*[Quotation from BOC technical specification document]

As you may have noticed from the above comments, it appears that Hydrogen is not actually produced onsite within the unit itself. So this is effectively a dispenser system which can provide hydrogen at increased pressure from storage canisters and will itself need to be periodically refilled.

Customers who use the unit will have a smart-card account and be billed for their usage. Honda have estimated that the hydrogen works out at 5p per litre equivalent cheaper than petrol. On the station’s official opening date, Tuesday 20th September, there were eight vehicles lined up for refueling including a London Taxi, a Mercedes-Benz ambulance, a London Bus, and a micro-cab. The filling station has seen wide publicity in the UK media and more is likely to follow as additional hydrogen vehicles hit the road.

Professor Kevin Kendall, a hydrogen expert from Birmingham university commented, ’Every big manufacturer is making a hydrogen car with a fuel cell. By 2015 to 2020 when it all kicks off, there will be hundreds of thousands if not millions of these around.’

You can find out more about the BOC Hydrogen Max 90 refueller on their website at: http://www.boconline.co.uk/products/products_by_application/hydrogen_refuelling.asp

For a list of other UK hydrogen refuelling stations please see our online directory at: http://www.hydrogenclub.co.uk/main/index.php/refuelling-stations