The UK Department for Transport has focused in the past five years on developing infrastructure for alt-fuel vehicles. This department as well as the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has pumped $615 million into public demonstrations, fueling stations and testing for low-emission vehicles. The next step for the British government is a recently announced partnership with 13 private sector leaders called UKH2Mobility. Participants in UKH2Mobility are pledging to share research, resources and personnel to promote fuel-cell technology ahead of a projected 2014 release for hydrogen vehicles in the region.
UKH2Mobility starts with three goals that should help the United Kingdom jump into the fuel-cell vehicle industry. Partners in UKH2Mobility will study the alternative energy sources proposed by British communities including hydrogen fuel cells. This research will focus on building the case for fuel cells based on emissions reduction, available technology and costs to the consumer. Another goal for UKH2Mobility is analyzing the costs of developing refueling stations and training service stations to handle fuel-cell drive systems. The initiative will also develop marketing efforts to highlight the potential enhancements for the British economy through job growth, manufacturing and natural resources extraction.
Industrial partners in UKH2Mobility represent global leaders in the automotive and energy industries. UKH2Mobility features contributions from Vauxhall Motors, Toyota, Tata Motors, Nissan, Hyundai and Daimler. This initiative also leverages expertise from The BOC Group, Scottish and Southern Energy, Intelligent Energy Limited and Air Liquide Hydrogen Energy. Officials from the Department for Energy and Climate Change, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Transport are coordinating these efforts. This public-private partnership should reduce barriers to mobilize fuel-cell technology over the next decade.
The British government has already gained expertise in the fuel-cell industry through the European Fuel Cells & Hydrogen Joint Undertaking. This partnership started on October 14, 2008 with the primary goal of facilitating commercial releases for fuel-cell vehicles by 2020. The Joint Undertaking also represents a connection to the European Union as the partnership was the first under the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan. UKH2 Mobility expands on the foundations of the Joint Undertaking while incorporating more businesses that have experience with hydrogen fuel cells. The United Kingdom represents an ideal proving ground for hydrogen vehicles given varied weather, traffic patterns and community sizes.