I’ve previously talked about the Scottish Hydrogen Highway and the South Wales Hydrogen Highway in development. I’ve also talked about how hydrogen powered taxis are coming to London for the 2012 Olympics.
And now, I would like to talk about London’s Hydrogen Highway system that is being built not only to support the black taxis but many more H2 vehicles as well. Of course, a project such as this adds to the overall United Kingdom Hydrogen Highway which is being built in sections, similar to what has been developing in California.
Over the next two years at least six hydrogen fueling stations will be built around the metropolitan area with the help of the London Hydrogen Partnership (LHP). One hydrogen fueling station will open along the RV1 bus route later this year.
The overall plan is for at least 150 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to be on the roads by 2012. According to London’s official government site, “These could include cars, vans, taxis, motorbikes, and lorries. Fifty of the vehicles are expected to be operated by the Greater London Authority’s functional bodies – Transport for London (TfL); the London Development Agency (LDA); the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA); and the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA).”
The testing of the H2 vehicles by the London police and firefighters is a positive move for two reasons. First, the police will be able to give the vehicles more road miles than typical drivers, thus retrieving much needed data. The police will also be using the significant arrays of solar panels around London to electrolyze water to create green hydrogen for this project.
Second, the firefighters will become intimately familiar with the vehicles if an accident occurs. The concern here is not so much the hydrogen as the electrical system (as with a battery electric car) that will need extra precautions by safety personnel.
The push for this project may be the 2012 London Olympics, but it also brings the United Kingdom one step closer in developing a robust hydrogen highway system, interconnecting different regions, so that H2 car may drive more freely.