Tees Valley Hydrogen Transport Hub boosted by £20m competition

White bus arriving on the asphalt road in rural landscape in the rays of the sunset

Tees Valley will host a competition to discover how hydrogen can be used for a cleaner and more efficient transport sector.

Tees Valley will host a new £20 million competition. Successful bidders of the competition will push the boundaries of hydrogen to see how it can be used to create a cleaner and more efficient transport sector.

Hydrogen, which produces no carbon emissions when used as a fuel, has an abundance of potential yet to be unlocked. The Hydrogen Transport Hub competition will encourage growth in this vital sector.

As part of the competition, run by Innovate UK, businesses and research groups will collaborate to discover how hydrogen can be used as a reliable fuel source.

Hydrogen at scale

From lowering carbon emissions on grocery deliveries to making the air in cities cleaner, this investment opens up the possibilities of hydrogen to revolutionise how people live and breathe across the country.

The competition will address challenges such as:

  • refuelling on a large scale
  • ensuring buses and coaches can use hydrogen in public transport ecosystems
  • how to make the supply chain greener with hydrogen-fuelled heavy goods vehicles

As the technologies develop, the research from this competition will help bring about the large-scale production of low-carbon hydrogen, which could also reduce the nation’s reliance on imported fossil fuels.

Upskilling local workforce

This announcement (6 October 2022) will also see an additional £300,000 put forward to support upskilling the local workforce and foster a specialised skills base and pipeline of talent. This will further cement Tees Valley’s status as the home of hydrogen.

This will also help grow the UK economy with a transport system that is resilient to global energy prices, environmentally friendly and could see the creation of hundreds of skilled jobs.

Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said:

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges this generation faces, and with transport contributing 24% to the UK’s CO2 levels, we are working hard to change things now and for the future.

Tees Valley continues to be the beacon for hydrogen technologies and will be further supported by £20 million going to the best and the brightest ideas that will create a world-leading industry with more skilled jobs in the heart of the north of England.

Cleaner, safer, healthier industries

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said:

With ever-increasing global energy prices, a looming net zero deadline but a real chance to grab the emerging opportunity with both hands, now more than ever, we must be looking to the cleaner, safer and healthier industries of the future, such as hydrogen.

The first phase of our Hydrogen Transport Hub pilot, at sites including Teesside Airport, has already proved a great success, showing how these vehicles can be used safely, effectively and cleanly in a whole range of ways.

Now, thanks to this competition, our brilliant innovative businesses can go further to unlock the potential of hydrogen to transform our transport system and undertake vital research that, alongside plans by BP, Kellas Midstream, Northern Gas Networks and others, will cement our area as a hydrogen powerhouse.

Building a greener economy

With this new funding, the Hydrogen Transport Hub, a testing ground of hydrogen-focused businesses and expertise, will see its largest competition launch.

The previous competition earlier this year saw over £2.6 million awarded to various winners to develop 21 vehicles.

The winners of the competition included:

  • Toyota, which provided hydrogen vehicles for local police forces
  • HVS trucks, which developed a hydrogen-powered van for large supermarkets to deliver largescale groceries

They offer a solution for when batteries cannot.

Reaching net zero

Setting a good foundation, these examples are just the touchpaper to set alight the imagination of British businesses when:

  • building a greener economy
  • helping consumers seamlessly transition to a lower carbon lifestyle

As a result, the UK is one step closer to solving one of the biggest challenges to reaching net zero in seeing larger vehicles utilising hydrogen across the transport network beyond battery power. The winning bidders aim to display their final products from spring 2023.

Delivered by Innovate UK

Innovate UK CEO Indro Mukerjee said:

Hydrogen innovation will play a key part in the UK’s net zero ambitions and Innovate UK is ready to work with the most innovative businesses in this field.

We are pleased to partner with the Department for Transport and Tees Valley to help deliver a cleaner, greener future economy for the region and the UK.

This funding will further bolster an area that has seen renewed private investment in the last few years. This includes fuel companies like BP, which is due to build a large-scale hydrogen production facility in Teesside.

Find out more about how to apply

Hydrogen Transport Hub demonstration phase 2: strand 1

Hydrogen Transport Hub demonstration phase 2: strand 2

Top image:  Credit: Milos-Muller, iStock, Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

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