Amey is driving some of the UK’s first hydrogen-powered vehicles around Sheffield to help improve its environmental performance.
Under a 25-year Streets Ahead highways maintenance contract, Amey is responsible for the upkeep of the city’s roads, pavements, street lighting and bridges on behalf of the council.
Amey already has two electric vans at its depot at Olive Grove and is gearing up to run another 15 electric vehicles to replace the current diesel vehicles as part of its commitment to reducing carbon emissions.
And now a further step is being taken with the trial of two vans that use a hydrogen fuel cell to extend the range of power the battery gives to approximately 200 miles.
The Sheffield scheme is backed by a grant from the Department for Transport’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles. Results will be monitored by both Amey and the Department for Transport to assess the use of hydrogen-powered vehicles in general.
“We will run a trial with two hydrogen vehicles over the next two years,” said Streets Ahead environment manager Tom Cullingford. “At the moment, there are only 20 to 30 hydrogen vehicles in the country and technology is at a very early stage. But the obvious benefit is that there are zero carbon emissions which will help improve the air quality in and around Sheffield.”
The vehicles are Renault Kangoo ZE electric vans, fitted with a hydrogen fuel cell by Symbio Fcell, a French company, and supplied to Amey via Symbio’s UK partner, Arcola Energy.
Hydrogen for the vehicles will be provided by ITM Power from its hydrogen station at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) in Sheffield, which is one of only a handful of hydrogen refuelling stations outside of London. The hydrogen is produced on site using renewable energy from a wind turbine.