UK Government

Department of Energy and Climate Change: Hunt hails hydrogen boost

Press Release   •   Feb 12, 2010 11:16 GMT

South Wales named as leading centre in the UK for hydrogen energy with South West as a key partner and with £6.3m of funding through University of Glamorgan
_ Successful bidders for £7.2m of hydrogen demonstration programme funding announced
_ £500k of grants awarded for new hydrogen and natural gas/biogas refuelling and electric car recharge stations

UK capabilities in hydrogen were further boosted today as the Government created the sixth Low Carbon Economic Area (LCEA). It will be focused in South Wales, with close cooperation extending as far as Swindon in the South West.

As part of this, the University of Glamorgan announced that it is investing £6.3m to develop new processes, products and services as part of the CymruH2Wales project. It will create 23 new research staff over the next three years and a further 63 permanent jobs in hydrogen energy.

Speaking at Johnson Matthey in Swindon, Energy Minister Lord Hunt highlighted how the LCEA will build on the expertise in South Wales to develop hydrogen on a commercial basis and would be closely linked to end users based on the M4 corridor. Lord Hunt also announced that the company will receive a share of £7.2m of funding to develop hydrogen and fuel cell technology.

Lord Hunt said:

“Cleaning up our energy supply and the fuel we use for transport will give the UK the opportunity to develop the low carbon industries of the future.  Fuel cells and hydrogen can play a key role in cutting CO2 emissions and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

“Through this boost for hydrogen, innovative businesses like Johnson Matthey are well placed to benefit from the move to low carbon. I congratulate them on their funding award and thank them for this contribution to tackling climate change.”

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson added:

“Hydrogen presents exciting opportunities for low carbon energy and we want the UK to be at the forefront. The Government is committed to encouraging and supporting growth through our low carbon industries, skills base and supply chain.”

"That's why we're creating this Low Carbon Economic Area for hydrogen energy led by South Wales in close collaboration with the South West.

"These investments in research, infrastructure and commercialisation will help our universities and companies work together to seize the opportunities in hydrogen energy, to benefit the area and the whole of the UK."

Stephen Peacock, Executive Director at the South West RDA, who will work to support regional business to exploit opportunities around the LCEA, said:

“Hydrogen fuel cells are a fantastic development when it comes to generating clean power incredibly efficiently. The South West is already a world leader in creating low carbon technologies, particularly in marine renewables.

“The hydrogen highway, running from South Wales along the M4 corridor into the South East, will help attract more cutting edge companies like Johnson Matthey into the area, allowing the South West to build infrastructure and expertise in another major form of low carbon power generation.”

There was a further boost for the University of Glamorgan when Lord Hunt revealed that it was a winner of a share of £500,000 from the latest round of the Department for Transport’s grants to encourage refuelling or recharging stations for alternative fuels. The University will use its funding to build a new multi-fuel filling station at its Pontypridd campus and further develop its existing facility at its Hydrogen Centre in Baglan.

Notes to editors

1. In the Low Carbon Industrial Strategy, the Government identified the key low carbon sectors where evidence suggests the economic opportunity for the UK is greatest.

LCEAs aim to accelerate the development of priority low carbon sectors by focussing on geographic areas of the UK where there are clear existing strengths. They will drive forward the development of specific low carbon industry sectors by bringing together local, national and regional policy levers in a strategic and co-ordinated manner - for example infrastructure development, research and development, demonstration, planning policies, skills provision and investment.

Five other LCEAs have already been announced:

- In the South West to create a world centre for wave and tidal energy, with a focus on marine energy demonstration, servicing and manufacture

- In the North East to focus on ultra low carbon vehicles
- In the North West and Yorkshire to develop a UK civil nuclear supply chain

- In Greater Manchester on the built environment

- In the Midlands on advanced automotive engineering

2. Johnson Matthey submitted one of the 15 winning projects that will receive a share of £7.2 investment to develop fuel cell and hydrogen technology, following a competition funded by the Department of Energy and Climate Change and managed by the Technology Strategy Board.

Administered by the Technology Strategy Board, the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Demonstrator Programme will help UK companies to commercialise these technologies. Once they are fully developed they will contribute to meeting UK and EU climate change targets. For more information, and details of the other winners visit http://www.innovateuk.org/newsevents.ashx

The programme’s focus is on the development of technologies and their associated supply chains that will offer significant quantitative improvements in:

- lowering costs and significantly improving reliability, durability and performance levels of low, intermediate and high temperature fuel cell systems (with various fuel sources) for the stationary, transport and portable markets

- addressing the challenges related to hydrogen generation, storage and utilisation

- acceleration of their deployment to market

3. The Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Grant Programme (AFIGP) supports the installation of refuelling or recharging stations for a range of alternative fuels – natural gas / biogas, hydrogen and electricity. The scheme was launched in 2005 and is administered by Cenex, the Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell Technology, on behalf of the Department for Transport. In the three years to 2008 it has funded 77 electric vehicle stations (including 82 charging points), 5 natural gas stations and 20 bio-ethanol stations. The successful bids for  the 2010/11 funding round are:

Applicant      Scheme type Location Grant award % of total eligible cost
Chesterfield Biogas  Gas  Greenwich £104,000 50%
Royal Mail      Electric  London         £81,000         50%
University of      Hydrogen/  S. Wales £120,900 50%  
Glamorgan            Gas  
Air Products      Hydrogen  Bedfordshire £176,000 50%
Total          £481,900

4. The Department of Energy and Climate Change is central to the UK Government’s leadership on climate change.  We are pushing hard internationally for ambitious effective and fair action to avert the most dangerous impacts.  Through our UK Low Carbon Transition Plan we are giving householders and businesses the incentives and advice they need to cut their emissions, we are enabling the energy sector’s shift to the trinity of renewables, new nuclear and clean coal, and we are stepping up the fight against fuel poverty.

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