How Will Hydrogen Trials in Tees Valley Shape the future of Transport?
After the winners of a £2.5milllion research and development competition were unveiled to accelerate the use of hydrogen transport in the Tees Valley area, Quadrant Transport looks at how hydrogen can decarbonise the UK.

Trials will be running to show how hydrogen-fuelled vehicles can be quick and easy to drive and refuel, cleaning up the air in our local areas as we aim to meet our net-zero ambitions.

The successful trials will lead to supermarkets, emergency services and delivery companies using hydrogen-powered transport to move goods and carry out local services.

From diesel busses being retrofitted with hydrogen fuel cells, to supermarket chains obtaining hydrogen delivery vans, Quadrant was told that the trials will help understand the role hydrogen has in meeting our 2050 net-zero ambitions, which will inform our future investment decisions and prime export opportunities.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “With less than 100 days to go until COP26, I’m committed to supporting industry to develop innovative new technologies that will decarbonise transport, helping us to build back greener and level up the country.

“By harnessing the power of hydrogen technology, we can pave the way for its use across all transport modes, creating a cleaner, greener more efficient transport system across the UK.”

Stagecoach and Ricardo PLC are paving the way for cleaner travel

Ricardo PLC is collaborating with Stagecoach to retrofit a doubledecker diesel bus with a hybrid fuel system. This will be trailed around local routes in the Tees Valley area and learnings from this project will help support fuel cell retrofit technologies in future public transport across the UK.

One of the more wide-ranging trials sees Toyota introducing several hydrogen work vehicles deployed across the town’s rapid response services. These include a forklift truck for warehouse operations, a passenger bus, and ten fuel cell passenger cars which will aid emergency response units for the Cleveland Police and NHS patient support.

Delivery vans running between 19 superstores and their main distribution centre in the Tees Valley area will be demonstrating the use of hydrogen power for a leading supermarket chain. The project aims to show how delivery vans fitted with fuel cells can have increased range, faster refuelling times than battery-electric versions and speed parity with conventional diesel vehicles.

The announcement comes weeks after the launch of the Government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan, a world-leading incitive that sets out a credible plan for the UK to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and lead the world in tackling climate change.

Tees Valley Mayor fully behind the project

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “Through trialling the use of hydrogen in transport across Teesside, Darlington, and Hartlepool, we are spearheading the path to a greener future by developing the knowledge and expertise needed to roll hydrogen out as a fuel source across the country.

“In Teesside, we already produce 50 per cent of the UK’s hydrogen, so there is no better place for this research to take place.

“This new investment shows how Teesside is leading the way in the drive for the UK to be net-zero by 2050, creating good-quality, well paid, clean energy jobs in the process.”

The funding also follows the unveiling of an official plan for the UK’s first ever hydrogen transport hub which is aiming to be fully functional by 2025 – helping to create up to 5,000 new jobs in the North East and overall boost the economy and environment.