An M6 services is to host one of the world’s first hydrogen refueling stations for lorries under plans developed by a company betting that the gas will be the future of transport.
Developer Element 2 is installing the facility at Exelby Services’ Golden Fleece station on the M6 in Carlisle, as well as another of the company’s sites at Coneygarth, on the A1 in Northallerton.
The company says they will be the first public service stations in the UK to offer hydrogen refueling for HGVS.
Lorries that can run on the gas are not yet commercially available in the UK but several manufacturers are developing models using hydrogen fuel cells, with orders from major users.
Element 2’s work is a sign of the infrastructure being put in place so hydrogen trucks can be used once they hit UK roads. It also has mobile fuelers serving test vehicles.
Hydrogen, which does not release carbon emissions when burned, is seen around the world as a viable replacement for fossil fuels in everything from trucks to heavy industry.
For that to happen however there needs to be a huge increase in production of clean hydrogen as well as the infrastructure to store, move and supply it.
Vehicles, heating systems and manufacturing sites also need to be redesigned to be able to use it.
Rob Exelby, managing director of Exelby Services, said: “Following the ever-increasing global focus on tackling climate change, now is the time to be proactive and embrace low and zero carbon alternatives to diesel drivetrains.
“With Element 2’s expertise we can implement hydrogen refueling on our existing service areas to offer a one-stop-shop for all road users as we transition to net-zero.”
Led by Tim Harper, a former engineer with the European Space Agency, Skipton-based Element 2 wants to develop a network of hydrogen refueling stations around the UK by 2027. The new stations on the A1 and the M6 could be ready within the year.