Shell has opened a new hydrogen refuelling station on the M40 at Beaconsfield Services, with the pump the first to be installed under the same canopy as conventional petrol and diesel units.
The new site has been opened in partnership with ITM Power, and hydrogen is generated on site using an electrolyser, using water and electricity to generate the gas.
Shell already had one hydrogen refuelling station at the Cobham Services on the M25, opened in February 2017. This new site is the first to be opened as part of the H2ME project – an initiative partially funded by the European Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), and the UK’s Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).
Although in its infancy, a hydrogen refuelling network is set to grow in the UK, with the main benefit of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCEVs) over pure-EVs being the ability to cover long-distances in the same time as a petrol or diesel vehicle. An FCEV’s only tailpipe is water, and they use a battery and electric motor for power in the same manner as a pure-EV.
Though less efficient than an EV in terms of ‘well-to-wheel’ electricity usage, an FCEV only takes a couple of minutes to fill up, carrying its fuel on board. Expectations are that the majority of vehicles on the road in the future will be pure-electric models, but that long-distance cars and heavy duty vehicles will predominantly be FCEVs.
The Shell Beaconsfield site will be added to Zap-Map soon, with other refuelling stations open to the public displayed already on desktop and app. To find them easily, select hydrogen under either the connector or speed filters on Zap-Map.