The Anonymous Widower

Delivering Hydrogen For Vehicles

In Friday’s copy of The Times, there is an article entitled Hydrogen Lifts Off: An Old Fuel Showing New Promise.

The article talks about Shell’s plans to create a network of filling stations for hydrogen-powered vehicles.

This is a paragraph.

A potential alternative is electrolysis, the method that Shell’s partner ITM Power is using to produce hydrogen at the Gatwick site. There, in a yard behind the refuelling pump, temporary buildings house equipment that purify tap water and convert AC electricity from the grid to DC current. This is used to split the water through electrolysis into hydrogen and harmless waste oxygen, which is vented out.


  1. Electrolysis is an alternative to the use of steam reforming of methane, which produces a lot of carbon dioxide.
  2. If the electricity is from renewables like solar, wind or tidal, then the hydrogen produced can be considered green.
  3. They is also a quote from Shell, which says that as renewable power gets cheaper and electrolysis more efficient, this will be the standard way to produce hydrogen.

It does seem to me that we could see hydrogen stations all over the place, as each is stand-alone and only needs tap water, an electricity feed and customers.

Who is iTM Power?

iTM Power are a company based in Sheffield.

Read more about them on their Wikipedia entry or their web site.

They claim to have the world’s largest PEM electrolyser factory.

They are also developing a network of hydrogen filling stations.

Currently opened include.

  • Beaconsfield Services Hydrogen Station
  • Gatwick Refuelling Station
  • Rainham Solar Hydrogen Station, Essex
  • Rotherham Wind Hydrogen Station
  • Shell Cobham Services Hydrogen Station
  • Swindon Hydrogen Station
  • Teddington Hydrogen Station

And these are currently planned.

  • Birmingham Bus
  • Birmingham Passenger Vehicle
  • Pau Bus, France


  1. Some as you can see are to support hydrogen buses.
  2. Some are powered directly by renewable electricity.
  3. Birmingham’s two stations are co-located.
  4. Two; Beaconsfield and Cobham are at motorway service areas.
  5. Pau is probably  to support the hydrogen-powered busway that is being created in the town. There is more on that in this article on rfi, which is entitled Amid Transport Chaos, France Rolls Out World-First Hydrogen Bus Fleet.

It’s looks to me that iTM are working to a sensible plan.

  • They can supply a system for a range of purposes.
  • They can be placed on fairly small sites.
  • They don’t need connection to a hydrogen grid.
  • Is it sensible to put one in for a fleet of buses, trucks or vans first?
  • Systems for buses and other vehicles can be co-located.

I can see in a few years, that everyone will be within sensible reach of a hydrogen filling station.

As the range of a hydrogen-powered car is in the hundreds of miles. it looks to me that the range anxiety of battery vehicles will be overcome.

I don’t drive or have a car, but if I needed one, I’d buy hydrogen over battery, when there was a filling station in my part of London.

January 19, 2020 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , ,


  1. […] Delivering Hydrogen For Vehicles, I talk about how iTM Power are building hydrogen refuelling stations for road […]

    Pingback by Silent Hydrogen Trains On The Cards For New Line Linking Burton And Leicester « The Anonymous Widower | January 20, 2020 | Reply

  2. I think the ultimate longer distance car will be PHEV Hydrogen.

    Battery gives you 200+ (slowish to replenish) miles (good for short trips near home), hydrogen gives you 300+ fast replenishing miles (once hydrogen stations are rolled out on motorways and major towns), total 500 miles which is what the longer range ICE cars offer. Electric drivetrain shared by both modes (presumably less redundant weight than an ICE car, hydrogen tanks around the same weight as petrol/diesel, fuel cell is light weight, no mechanical transmission or generator). Hydrogen is fairly compact too.

    On a longer (multi-day) trip, you would charge up battery overnight, then range extend with hydrogen during the day.

    Localised creation of hydrogen resolves the safety problems of transporting hydrogen in bulk.

    Comment by MilesT | January 20, 2020 | Reply

    • You got it right. It does appear that Shell and iTM Power possibly have a plan to put hydrogen in all motorway service stations. Of only eleven stations planned and open so far, two are on motorways. The company talks of hydrogen generators being plug and play, so I suspect they’re not the most difficult things to install.

      I suspect too, that someone like Tesco or Mark’s and Spencer will want their delivery trucks to be zero carbon and these will need convenient filling stations on some deliveries. So motorway service stations are likely to get hydrogen within a few years.

      Comment by AnonW | January 20, 2020 | Reply

      • Grocery ecommerce delivery trucks probably could be pure battery, no hydrogen required. At their busiest, the trucks go out 2 x per day which may just be within range of one overnight charge and running the chiller units when out on a run (3 runs probably would not be possible). But needs a lot of new electrical power brought to stores, especially to the larger ecommerce depots (which have 50 or more trucks, cf the new EV bus depot near waterloo).

        Bigger trucks–I would expect the supermarkets that have “out of town” premises to put hydrogen refilling into their carparks for their trucks to use, rather than shared on motorways, if they needed that. But the bigger trucks can have big tanks, maybe enough to get back to base (or to an intervening depot).

        Comment by MilesT | January 21, 2020

      • The ITM Power system looks very flexible and easy to install.

        As hydrogen becomes more popular as a fuel, I can see Tesco, Sainsburys etc., putting a hydrogen point on the filling station.

        It would attract shoppers.

        It could fill up delivery trucks.

        It could fill up local delivery Van’s, which would be plastered with green adverts.

        They could even run hydrogen fork lifts and smaller vehicles used on site.

        Looks to me like high quality green wash!

        Comment by AnonW | January 21, 2020

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