National and Devolved Politics

06.02.19

Tees Valley wins bid to bring hydrogen vehicles and fuelling stations to region

Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) has announced its £1.3m bid to bring innovative hydrogen vehicles and refuelling stations has been approved by the government.

The region will benefit from a fleet of hydrogen technology cars and two refuelling stations built in Middlesbrough and Redcar, allowing cars, bin lorries, and even trains to be powered by hydrogen.

The news comes following a government competition for the technology which was won by a joint bid from the combined authority and Materials Processing Institute.

On top of a commitment to replace all diesel trains with hydrogen, the government wants all new cars and vans to be effectively zero emission by 2040, according to transport minister Jesse Norman, who said getting the right infrastructure and investment in place now was key.

Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen called the decision a “clear vote of confidence in the region’s industry, skills and supply chain” and strengthens the authority’s case for further funding to become “the clean growth capital of the UK.”

A previous draft report commissioned by TVCA predicted that if opportunities with hydrogen were fully exploited it could bring around £7bn to the region’s economy by 2050 and create as many as 1,000 new jobs.

The fuelling stations coming to Tees Valley are two of the five to be built nationwide as part of a £14m national programme which will also see 73 fuel cell passenger vehicles and 33 fuel cell buses created in the UK.

Houchen said: “We already produce 50 per cent of the UK’s hydrogen, so properly utilising it will allow us to keep manufacturing jobs in the Tees Valley and build on the global drive to cut carbon emissions, rather than be held back by it.

“Hydrogen is vital to our green economy plans and it doesn’t stop at cars – we are currently progressing a pilot of the UK’s first hydrogen train in the area.”

The announcement comes weeks after the region was named as one of the areas that could receive £170m of funding to create a carbon ‘net-zero’ hub of industry by 2040.

Yesterday it was reported that Vivarail are to deliver new hydrogen trains later this year, becoming the first UK train manufacturer with a fully-approved hydrogen train design to work from.

Transport minister Norman added: “Record levels of electric vehicle registrations, along with the innovation being generated by our world class research base, clearly show the UK is on track in the transition to greener transport.”

Image credit - Tramino

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