BMW, Daimler, Honda, Hyundai and Toyota are taking part in the HyFive Hydrogen project 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 have signed up to the HyFive project, the largest of its kind in Europe, at City Hall in London. The 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.