Where can I buy hydrogen and where is my nearest hydrogen filling station?
Electric cars are getting all the headlines these days, but hydrogen is another possible zero-tailpipe-emissions power source for vehicles. Hydrogen-fuelled models are limited at the moment. In fact, there are only three types of hydrogen ‘fuel cell vehicle’ (FCV) currently on UK roads: the Toyota Mirai, the Honda FCX Clarity and the Hyundai NEXO.
At the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW showed an X5 with a hydrogen fuel cell that it says won’t be available to buy until 2025. However, most of the big carmakers are working on hydrogen models, as many see several alternative fuel options powering the cars of the future – not just electric.
Oliver Zipse, chair of BMW’s board, said: “Fuel-cell technology could be a real solution for long distances in the future. We expect to see an increase in demand for this technology in the second half of the next decade.”
Ashley Andrew, managing director of Hyundai UK, said of a recent experience driving a NEXO: “At Beaconsfield services, the hydrogen filling station sits alongside the petrol and diesel pumps like any other. Personally, I think that’s where we’ll be for the next decade at least; a transitional period of all fuel choices.”
What are the benefits of hydrogen cars?
Hydrogen fuel-cell cars are an interesting alternative to battery-electric cars, as they can be refuelled quickly, have a longer range and demand no compromise in terms of space or practicality. Furthermore, the only emissions from the tailpipe are water, and if the hydrogen is created using 100% renewable sources, it’s entirely sustainable. But while the technology exists to convert cars to hydrogen, the refuelling infrastructure required is still in its infancy.
Where can I find a hydrogen refuelling station?
According to ZapMap, which provides information on the electric-car recharging and hydrogen-car refuelling points, there are only 13 hydrogen stations in the UK.
Five of these are located within the M25, with others in the Southeast and Midlands. There are only two hydrogen refuelling points in Wales, one in the north of England, one in Scotland and none in Northern Ireland. Two new stations are planned for Birmingham and Gatwick Airport soon. Moreover, £14 million has been set aside as part of the government’s Hydrogen Transport Programme to open a further 10, with that increasing to 65 by 2030.
A kilogramme of hydrogen costs around £10 in the UK. As a guide, the Toyota Mirai’s fuel tank holds five kilogrammes, so it isn’t that much cheaper at the moment to use hydrogen compared to petrol or diesel – and it’s a lot more expensive than recharging an electric car.
The full list of hydrogen refuelling stations in the UK
- Rainham, Essex
- Hendon, London
- Hatton Cross (near Heathrow), London
- Teddington, Surrey
- Cobham, Surrey
- Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire
- Swindon, Wiltshire
- Pontypridd, Glamorgan
- Port Talbot, West Glamorgan
- Coventry, West Midlands
- Birmingham, West Midlands
- Rotherham, South Yorks
- Aberdeen, Scotland
How do I fill up a hydrogen car?
Hydrogen cars are as easy to fill as a petrol or diesel. It takes around five minutes to fill a tank. The pumps are similar to those you at a conventional fuel station, and you plug the nozzle into your car in the same way.