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Wed August 10 2022

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Kier trials hydrogen powered generator

27 Jul Kier Highways is trialling a hydrogen-powered fuel cell on its contract to construct a 4.85km long dual two-lane carriageway bypass on the A585 between Windy Harbour and Skippool, Lancashire.

Run in collaboration with Hydrologiq and supported by the government, this is the first hydrogen 110kVA generator deployment undertaken by Kier Highways and aims to uncover the practical challenges of replacing diesel with hydrogen as well as reduce the site’s carbon emissions, producing less noise, vibration and air pollution.

In late 2021, Hydrologiq secured a grant from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), to deploy hydrogen generators on real-world sites throughout the UK.

There are three main aims to the grant: building a platform to streamline the planning and deployment of hydrogen generators; prototyping a monitoring system for any hydrogen generator; and testing these developments through real world hydrogen generator deployments on live projects with partner businesses including those in the construction industry.

In the long term, replacing a diesel generator equivalent with this 110kVA generator could create a 40%-80% reduction in CO2e emissions when powered by grey hydrogen, and close to a 100% reduction when powered by green hydrogen.

As part of its One Planet Action Plan (OPAP), Kier Highways has committed to achieve net zero scope 1 and scope 2 emissions by 2030. This is in in line with the Kier Group Sustainability Framework, Building for a Sustainable World which sets out a target of net-zero across operations by 2045.

Matt Tompsett, head of environment and sustainability at Kier Highways, said: “Hydrogen is a key solution to the decarbonisation of both our fleet and plant. At Kier Highways, we have a target for all our fleet and plant to be running on alternative fuels by 2030. There is no silver bullet to this issue and there won’t be one alternative fuel solution.

“Whilst we are transitioning our small fleet and plant to electric, we recognise hydrogen is currently the most viable solution to larger fleet, plant and generators. The trial of this hydrogen generator is an important step on this journey, helping the ‘proof of concept’”, expelling myths, and engaging our employees who will use the new equipment and technology.”

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