Cheshire East Council has taken a big step in their fight against the climate emergency as planning permission for a green hydrogen refuelling compound has been secured.
The £1m scheme, based in Middlewich, will help to reduce carbon and improve air quality around Cheshire East.
Funding for the project was secured earlier in the year, from the public and private sector and a £345,000 grant from the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Growth Fund.
The money will initially pay for the trial of two converted bin wagons to take home-produced hydrogen, and now permission to build is in place, the delivery of the first green hydrogen fuelling facility in the North West of England.
Based at the Cheshire East environmental Hub, the Middlewich facility will produce hydrogen by using an electrolyser connected to solar panels, to be pumped into dual-fuel bin wagons. Making the fuel safe and as green as possible.
Councillor Nick Mannion, Cheshire East Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Regeneration, said:
“We are committed to reducing our own emissions and becoming carbon neutral by 2025. The approval of planning permission for this scheme is an exciting step towards achieving that target.
“Initially, two bin wagons owned by the council and one vehicle owned by Storengy, will be converted to use the green hydrogen. This will reduce the council’s and Storengy’s diesel use by more than 10,000 litres per year.
“Through our environment strategy, we intend to lead the way in green initiatives like this, taking action to respond to the global challenge of climate change and enhance and protect the natural environment of our borough.”
The UK Government has ambitions of reaching next zero carbon by 2050 and Councils are supporting that goal with local initiatives such as this one.
Councillor Quentin Abel, Cheshire East Council’s Climate Change Champion, said: “This trial using hydrogen is important as hopefully it will prove suitable for our heavier and long-range vehicles, making it an alternative to diesel for our refuse vehicles as they deliver their services across our borough.
“The green hydrogen will be produced in an environmentally friendly way at the depot through renewable energy, also removing the need for fuel to be transported onto site.
“Moving to cleaner fuels, such as hydrogen, will help towards combatting the increasing climate change crisis. It will also bring benefits locally through improved air quality – another strategic goal of our environment strategy.”