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New Power Progress Summit 2021. Jo Bamford, Ryse Hydrogen Founder, on hydrogen as a future fuel.

By May 26, 2021 No Comments

New Power Progress Summit 2021. Sponsored by FPT Powertrain Technologies, EATON & Phillips & Temro

As the goal posts for Net Zero are continually moved, so too are the expectations on industry & in particular the automotive sector.

A ban on the production of new petrol and diesel cars having first been announced in 2017 by Michael Gove, the then-environment secretary with a date of 2040 being set for the ban. This date has since been moved by the now Prime Minister Boris Johnson to 2030.

As a reaction to this, all of the major car manufacturers have pledged to ensure the 2030 date is met, with Honda only recently announcing that they will cease production of petrol & diesel cars by 2022.

However, as is well known the shift away from fossil fuel for the off-highway & the heavy duty sector is not on the same path. Despite there having been huge developments in electrification for heavy duty vehicles, the Automotive Council roadmaps for 2020 appreciated that different vehicle applications will require different powertrain solutions based on their energy & power demands. (1)

Therefore, it was interesting to hear Jo Bamford – Chairman of Wrightbus & Founder of Ryse Hydrogen speaking at the New Power Progress Summit (26.05.2021) about his belief in hydrogen as a future fuel.

Bamford spoke about hydrogen as the fuel of the now, not the future. His company, Ryse Hydrogen, has been producing & supplying Green Hydrogen over the past four years & most notably supplies Green Hydrogen to fuel the Wrightbus Hydrogen Buses.

Bamford spoke of the mass adoption of hydrogen by the consumer, as not only a way to zero emissions, but that hydrogen is the fuel most replicated by human behaviour. Humans are so used to being able to take their vehicle to a fuel filling station, that the notion of having to plug in an electric vehicle does not always appeal, nor fit into the expectations of seamless travel. However, as hydrogen has the capacity to refill in the same way as liquid fossil fuels; this poses a more appealing option.

Bamford recognised that electrification for the car industry still makes sense, however, when it comes to off-highway, heavy duty & construction, there are inherent limitations on the use of battery technologies.

Despite there having been considerable developments in battery electric off-highway vehicles in Europe with the roll out of highways with inbuilt pantograph power collectors to charge on board batteries; this is still very much in the development phase.

Bamford went on to illustrate that a Bus can travel 300 miles fuelled by diesel & takes only minutes to fill up, it can travel 285 miles on hydrogen & take 7 minutes to fill up & 183 miles on a battery model & take 7 hours to charged (Bamford’s words).

When asked about the infrastructure of hydrogen fuelling, Bamford pointed out, that although it is rolling out, he appreciated that industry sites & in particular where off-highway & construction vehicles are working daily; the fuelling infrastructure currently has to come to the site & be installed, rather than hydrogen currently being easily & readily available.

The new 10 point £12B Net Zero transition plan having been announced by our Prime Minister Boris Johnson in November 2020, includes the following point on hydrogen:

Hydrogen – £500m to generate 5GW of “low-carbon” hydrogen production capacity by 2030

The UK will aim to generate 5GW of “low-carbon” hydrogen production capacity by 2030. Up to £500m will be invested in a bid to create a Hydrogen Neighbourhood in 2023, a Hydrogen Village by 2025, and to create the first town running entirely on hydrogen.

Clean hydrogen, carbon capture & storage (CCS), zero-carbon transport & offshore wind are all key pillars to Boris Johnson’s Net Zero plans & is set to generate 250,000 Green Jobs in the process. (2)

Written by Katy-Jane Mason for & on behalf of Dolphin N2.