With the London 2012 Summer Olympics just a few days from commencing, hydrogen fuel cell taxis are still a go, but fuel cell buses are being grounded. Both types of vehicles are receiving their fuel from Air Products.
Five hydrogen fuel cell powered London Black Cabs will transport VIPs around the Olympics Games during the following weeks. The taxis will be fueled by a newer hydrogen fueling station just opened at Heathrow Airport. The Black Cabs all use Intelligent Energy’s fuel cells for power.
According to Intelligent Energy, “The pioneering fleet of fuel cell taxis have been developed by the UK power technology company Intelligent Energy, who provided the fuel cell systems for the vehicle power-train, and The London Taxi Company, who build and supply the iconic London black cab. They are ready to start transporting visiting dignitaries and the VIP guests of the Greater London Authority during the period of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Fuel cell electric vehicles, fuelled by hydrogen provide the same range, performance and fuelling time as conventional internal combustion engine vehicles with the added benefit of zero emissions at the point of use.”
Now, while the London fuel cell black cabs have been given a thumbs up, the hydrogen buses have been given the thumbs down for the Olympics. This is due to security interests around Olympic Park.
According to London SE1, “The fleet of zero-emission buses has been replaced by conventional diesel vehicles because the refuelling station is close to the Olympic Park where restrictions on deliveries of hazardous substances have been imposed.
“When planning permission for the hydrogen refuelling point at Lea Interchange in Stratford was granted at the end of 2009 the Olympic Delivery Authority imposed a condition – ‘in the interests of security’ – that no hydrogen should be stored on site between July and mid-September 2012.”
So, there you have it. The black taxis ride into the future while the buses roll back into the past. One step forward and a half a step back seems to be the natural progression of hydrogen vehicles in gaining ground worldwide. It’s important to remember that all in all we just gotta keep a pushing and eventually the momentum will be on our sides.