Fife is on track to establish one of Europe’s largest fleets of hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Levenmouth Community Energy Project (LCEP) is set to roll out 15 eco-friendly vans by mid-2016 to be used by Fife Council’s Building Services and Methil-based Bright Green Hydrogen.
Its lead partner, Bright Green Hydrogen, has invested in 10 Renault HyKangoo vans from Symbio FCell and five Ford Transits on behalf of the project and its partners, Fife Council and Toshiba.
The investment follows two refuse collection vehicles (RCV) ordered by Fife Council earlier this year (2015) from Hillend-based RCV manufacturer HeilFarid.
LCEP, which secured £4 million from the Scottish Government’s Local Energy Fund in March, says it plans to position Levenmouth as a global leader in clean energy by developing Methil’s Hydrogen Office Project into a world-class leader in hydrogen applications generated from renewable sources.
This includes creating a fleet of up to 25 hydrogen dual-fuel vehicles with refuelling points to be installed in Methil and at Fife Council’s Bankhead vehicle depot in Glenrothes.
George Archibald, chief executive at Bright Green Hydrogen, which operates the Hydrogen Office Project, said: “This is another key landmark for the project which is continuing to evolve in line with the partners’ ambitions. By providing a substantial range extension using hydrogen, the vehicles will perform a crucial part in generating significant environmental and economic benefits for the region by bringing low-carbon motoring within the reach of business users without limitations on daily travel.”
The electric Kangoo vans’ normal 100-mile operational range will be doubled via a supplementary tank of hydrogen, which recharges the battery continuously through a fuel cell device.
The Ford Transit vans and the RCVs will be powered by a combination of hydrogen and diesel mixed in the engine manifold, with hydrogen stored in supplementary fuel tanks installed underneath the vehicle.
The conversion work has been developed by Revolve Technologies and is now being commercialised by ULEMCo in Liverpool.
Tom Henderson, service manager for fleet operations at Fife Council, said: “The latest additions to the fleet will contribute to reducing carbon emissions and improving the air quality in Fife.”
The fleet is due to become operational by mid-2016 and will become the focus of a major data-collating programme which will enable its cost-benefit to be better understood.
Operational data collected from the Toshiba control system, from the vehicles, and from the hydrogen refuellers will be used to study and optimise the efficiency of the scheme.
Stephen Stead, business development director at Toshiba, said: “It’s important that we capitalise on projects such as Levenmouth to pave the way for a cleaner, more environmentally-friendly society for generations to come.”
More information on the vehicles will be available at a low-carbon transport event to be hosted by Green Business Fife, one of LCEP’s consortium members, on October 15.
The event ‘Drive Down Your Business Transport Costs – Go Green!’ will run at Fife Renewables Innovation Centre (FRIC) in Methil from 10am to 1.30pm, and is open to members of public.
The other consortium members of LCEP are Leven Valley Development Trust; Fife College; BOC (for hydrogen transport); Community Energy Scotland, and the Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (SHFCA).