Costain, a leading infrastructure solutions company, has been chosen by Wales & West Utilities (WWU) to spearhead an innovative study on integrating hydrogen refuelling stations into the UK's existing gas network. Funded by Ofgem, this groundbreaking research aims to explore the feasibility of using the national gas network, which supplies energy to homes, businesses, and industries, as a hydrogen fuelling infrastructure in response to the rising demand for zero-emissions vehicles.

This study will specifically examine infrastructure solutions that enhance the viability of hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs). FCEVs, which emit low emissions, could serve as a sustainable alternative to traditional petrol and diesel vehicles, thanks to hydrogen’s similar refuelling process. This technology is particularly advantageous for heavy-duty vehicles with high daily mileage and limited refuelling windows.

As part of the HyDrive initiative by WWU, the study addresses the current scarcity of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in Wales and the southwest of England. Costain’s researchers will collaborate with key regional stakeholders to understand current road transport demands, model and forecast future demands, and recommend potential sites where existing petrol stations could be converted to hydrogen refuelling stations.

The insights from the report will delve into the economics of implementing this technology and its impact on consumers during the transition to a hydrogen economy. The goal is to guide gas distribution networks in working with hydrogen producers and refuelling infrastructure providers, ultimately delivering long-term savings for consumers as part of the energy transition.

Laura Hughes, Energy Sector Director at Costain, stated:

Hydrogen will play an important role in the UK’s decarbonisation and energy transition ambitions. Through its HyDrive initiative, Wales & West Utilities is leading the way and our research will help improve understanding of the hurdles which need to be overcome to make hydrogen-powered vehicles a reality.

“Costain has a rich catalogue of expertise in this field and a deep understanding of how to handle hydrogen safely. This will ensure the report is grounded in practical implementation and ultimately delivers robust, actionable findings.”

Matthew Hindle, Head of Net Zero and Sustainability at Wales & West Utilities, added:

“HyDrive is a hugely important initiative for us as we seek to reduce carbon emissions across Wales and the southwest of England. Having successfully trialled a hydrogen van earlier this year, one of the challenges was the lack of hydrogen refuelling in the area. The trial required us to set up a bespoke hydrogen refuelling ecosystem and clearly highlighted the need for permanent infrastructure if FCEVs are to become a reality. HyDrive will help identify the ways in which our extensive gas network could support hydrogen refuelling in the future.

“For this project, we were seeking a partner who could demonstrate an immediate, detailed understanding of our requirements, complete with a relevant portfolio of experience. Costain ticked all boxes. The lack of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure is not confined to our region and we’re optimistic the project will produce a model which can be used by the broader industry and accelerate the sector’s complicated but pressing road to net zero.”

This strategic study by Costain represents a significant step towards a sustainable future, where hydrogen refuelling infrastructure can support the transition to zero-emissions transportation, aligning with the UK's broader decarbonisation goals.

Source: www.costain.com "Costain selected to conduct pioneering transport study into use of hydrogen refuelling stations" 


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