London Mayor Boris Johnson has announced a program called HyFive, which will see automakers and other entities invest 31 million British pounds ($51 million US) in a demonstration project for hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. By next year, London will have three hydrogen refueling stations, while there will be one each in the Danish cities of Aarhus and Odense and one in Innsbruck, Austria. Leaders of the program are planning for other stations in Sweden, Germany and Italy.
The five participating automakers are BMW, Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler, Honda, Hyundai and Toyota, while other companies involved include Copenhagen Hydrogen Network, ITM Power and Linde. Those OEMs will make 110 fuel-cell vehicles available for deployment in Bolzano, Copenhagen, Innsbruck, London, Munich and Stuttgart.
The program represents an effort to address the "chicken or egg?" challenge inherent to establishing a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle market. While the powertrain technology provides benefits by combining fossil-fuel-like refueling times with long driving ranges and zero emissions, establishing a refueling network and building fuel-cell vehicles is prohibitively expensive, especially in low volumes.
The London mayor is no stranger to green transportation technology. Late last year, Johnson made himself available for a photo opportunity with Ecotive and Frazer-Nash, which had developed a six-passenger extended-range plug-in taxicab. The mayor got a test drive in the cabs this week. You can check out the HyFive press release below.
International project HyFive pioneers hydrogen fuel cell technology
A pioneering £31 million deal will be struck today (3 April) to make hydrogen vehicles a viable and environmentally friendly choice for motorists across Europe.
Leading motor manufacturers, hydrogen fuel suppliers, the Mayor of London's Office and energy consultancies from around the globe are signing up to the HyFive project, the largest of its kind in Europe, at City Hall in London today. Five different manufacturers have agreed to deploy a total of 110 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles at several European locations (Bolzano, Copenhagen, Innsbruck, London, Munich, Stuttgart) and develop new clusters of hydrogen refuelling stations.
Locations are being sought for three new hydrogen refuelling stations in London, one in Aarhus and in Odense (Denmark) and one in Innsbruck (Austria). They are expected to be operational by 2015, by which time some of the manufacturers in the partnership will have started to put hydrogen fuelled cars on sale in some European markets. Using hydrogen gas as a fuel to generate electric power the revolutionary vehicles produce no harmful tailpipe emissions – only water vapour. They have the potential to be more than twice as fuel-efficient as conventionally powered vehicles and operate very quietly.
The Mayor of London's Office is coordinating the multi million pound project, which has been signed up to by BMW, Daimler, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota and hydrogen fuel companies including Air Products, Copenhagen Hydrogen Network, ITM Power, Linde, OMV. Other signatories include Element Energy, PE INTERNATIONAL, the Institute for Innovative Technology and the European Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking.
The motor manufacturers who are part of this project are working on developing and demonstrating hydrogen powered fuel cell cars. The prospect of these becoming more widely available is now seen as increasingly likely as the currently high cost of the technology falls and hydrogen powered vehicles become affordable. Supporters of the new technology point to the rapid re-fuelling times for hydrogen cars and their potential to cover over four hundred miles before needing to be re-fuelled. They also believe that fuel cells will have the ability to be scaled up to run larger vehicles such as buses or trucks.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "To sell this technology we need to show Londoners and the wider world that it is not science fiction. By building the vehicles and the filling stations and allowing people to kick the tyres we will be able to demonstrate that hydrogen is a viable option and that London is at the forefront of efforts to make it so."
Hydrogen infrastructure will be built across several countries as part of this European project. Filling stations will be built and operated in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Austria and Italy, as well as in London. An advantage for the new technology is that these stations will share internationally agreed fuel and re-fuelling standards. All of the partners in the project see the initial investment to build small clusters of stations as key to gaining the research knowledge that will demonstrate the viability of hydrogen fuelled vehicles.
Kit Malthouse, Deputy Mayor of London for Business and Enterprise, said: "This technology was invented in the UK and London already has a massive research base around hydrogen and alternative fuels. When you also consider that we already export thousands of vehicles from the UK that adds up to a big opportunity for many new jobs working in cutting edge new technologies. We are doing everything we can to ensure London is ready when the very first commercially available hydrogen vehicles begin to come to the market in 2015. We are also extremely appreciative of the FCH JU's commitment and support to the HyFIVE project, and our long term plans for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen technology to be a core component of our secure, affordable and low-carbon energy supply system in London".
Bert De Colvenaer, Executive Director of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, said: "With a total of 110 FCEVs and 6 new refuelling stations, HyFIVE will represent the largest single project of its kind financed by the FCH JU. The high level of technology readiness of this zero emission transport technology will be showcased in 5 European Member States, thus ensuring a broad geographical outreach. In addition, the project will also contribute to the buildup of the first networks at local levels necessary to support the market introduction of the vehicles in the coming years. With the participation of leading automakers and infrastructure providers, HyFIVE illustrates the commitment from leading industrial players in the EU and the spirit of cooperation that I am convinced will enable the success of these technologies."
Byung Kwon Rhim, President of Hyundai Motor Europe, said "The 15 partners of the HyFIVE project will work together to advance the awareness, understanding, viability and uptake of zero-emission hydrogen-powered vehicles, like the Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell. The collective mid-term goal is to grow a pan-European refuelling network and ensure more vehicles are seen on the road."
Prof Roger Putman CBE, Non-Executive Chairman, of clean hydrogen fuel supplier ITM Power Plc, said "ITM Power is delighted to be part of this exciting pan-European project, delivering three new green hydrogen refuelling stations which will be deployed in London. These three new stations will form part of three European regions deploying six new 700bar hydrogen refuelling stations and incorporating 12 existing stations in the project. The fuelling station networks will offer hydrogen as a genuine fuelling choice for end users. Working with other partners in the project, Air Products, Linde, OMV and the Copenhagen Hydrogen Network, will stimulate the network density required for full commercial roll-out of hydrogen refuelling and FCEVs."