A group of companies in the UK is aiming to set two new records for hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) as part of Hydrogen Week (11-18 March), with a continuous five-day and five-night drive around the M25 highway.
Working together, the partners of the government-backed London Hydrogen Network Expansion project (LHNE) will attempt to set new records for the longest journey on one tank of hydrogen (existing record 435 miles/700 km) and the longest continuous FCEV journey (6,024 miles/9,695 km).
The record attempts, which will start on Monday, 14 March, are part of the project’s efforts to increase awareness of the benefits of hydrogen-fueled cars.
A series of drivers, including members of the media, will take the wheel of a Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle which will complete approximately 50 clockwise laps of the M25 between Monday and Friday next week.
LHNE, co-funded by Innovate UK, was set up in 2012 to create the UK’s first hydrogen-powered transport system across London and the South East. The project is being undertaken by a consortium, led by Air Products, and has delivered a publicly accessible, state-of-the-art fast-fill 700 bar renewable hydrogen fuelling station as well as upgrading a second refueling station to 700 bar. LHNE has also deployed new hydrogen vehicles in London; including a number of Hyundai hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and Revolve hydrogen-fueled vans.
Hyundai Motor’s ix35 Fuel Cell car has been commercially available since 2014 and, last year, Toyota introduced its Mirai FCEV to the market.
The LHNE partners are now keen for the adoption of hydrogen fuel cell technology to accelerate in the UK but one of the main challenges is the limited coverage of refueling stations to support the vehicles. There are currently six stations in the UK, including the two public Air Products SmartFuel stations in London and funding is in place for at least 12 to be operational in England and Scotland within the next 12 months.
The LHNE consortium comprises Air Products, Anglo American, Cenex, Commercial Group, Element Energy, the Greater London Authority, Heathrow Airport Ltd, Hyundai Motor UK Ltd, Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells Ltd, Revolve Technologies Ltd, and Shell. The project is co-funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK. It is one of five research and development projects selected by the Technology Strategy Board in 2012 to help accelerate the adoption of energy systems using hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, bringing them into everyday use. The Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority have played a supporting role in the project.