First Hydrogen ecosystem trial leading the way for fleet decarbonisation

First Hydrogen is partnering with Wales & West Utilities (WWU), Protium Green Solutions (Protium), and Hyppo Hydrogen Solutions (Hyppo) to build a functional ecosystem, using a redeployable refueller and delivered green hydrogen, to provide the flexibility and speed during the current vehicle trial.

This “ready to go” resource allows First Hydrogen’s hydrogen-powered-fuel-cell vehicle (FCEV) to deliver normal operations, a crucial step in the rollout of FCEVs in future. In addition to exploring the FCEV’s suitability for WWU’s requirements, the trial also aims to provide a blueprint that could be replicated in other locations, or to transition trials to full adoption.

Currently, one of the main barriers to the adoption of hydrogen is the availability of both hydrogen itself and refuelling infrastructure in suitable locations. This trial uses hydrogen produced at Protium’s Pioneer 1 facility, one of the first hydrogen production facilities in the UK, and Hyppo’s Fuel Cell Systems HyQube redeployable refueller infrastructure. This provides the flexibility and rapid deployment to bring trials online quickly.

“We believe that implementing a rapid trial approach to scaled adoption offers the best approach for fleet operators to decarbonise with hydrogen,” commented Protium’s Chief Operating Officer Jon Constable. “Working in partnership to create a local ecosystem reduces risk and lays the foundation for a robust value chain.”

“Hyppo is helping build a hydrogen ecosystem in the Swansea Bay City region and is already working with partners such as Bay Studios, Swansea University, University of South Wales, Protium and Fuel Cell Systems,” adds Hyppo Hydrogen Solutions CEO Chris Foxall. “It’s great to be able to offer out our service and capabilities to forward thinking companies like Wales & West Utilities and First Hydrogen which will accelerate the hydrogen economy in the area”.

According to Skyquest’s latest research report, the global Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle market size is expected to reach USD $132.63 billion by 2031 and exhibit a CAGR of 68.52% in the forecast period (2024−2031). The government incentives, environmental regulations, rising demand for clean energy, increasing awareness of climate change, advancements in hydrogen fuel cell technology, expanding hydrogen refueling infrastructure, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving energy efficiency, automakers’ focus on sustainability, and global efforts to transition to clean transportation is fueling the market’s growth.

Steve Gill, Executive Director Automotive at First Hydrogen, said: “This trial shows fleet operators that hydrogen is a viable zero emission solution for them, even if they don’t have access to fixed refuelling infrastructure. Working with partners, we can offer fleet operators a full hydrogen-as-a-service solution. In South Wales the solution is a hydrogen vehicle ecosystem – we have provided a vehicle for Wales & West Utilities to use, it is fuelled by Protium’s green hydrogen, which is delivered through Hyppo Hydrogen Solutions’ refuelling technology.”

The initiative delivers more than deployment of technology; it is also a strategy to build public confidence in hydrogen as a safe and valuable regional asset. With the Welsh Government’s proactive stance on hydrogen in decarbonisation, this trial highlights Wales’s leadership in the UK’s hydrogen adoption efforts.

“We’re eagerly awaiting the data and learnings from the trial, particularly as it takes place during WWU’s most operationally challenging period of the year,” commented Stephen Offley, Transport Manager at Wales & West Utilities. “This information will be invaluable in refining the deployment and use of hydrogen in fleet operations.”