City's first hydrogen filling station opens at new 'green' University research building

The Energy Technologies Building 
15 Oct 2012 16:02:23.023

Drivers of hydrogen cars will be able to fill up their tanks in Nottingham for the first time later this week, following the launch of an innovative sustainable energy research facility at The University of Nottingham.

The £9 million Energy Technologies Building on The University of Nottingham Innovation Park will provide a catalyst for the University’s research into low-carbon innovations and will be the first venue in the city to offer a hydrogen production and refuelling station.

And on Wednesday this week a hydrogen-powered black cab and transit van will be the first vehicles to officially use the new filling station as part of a launch event to showcase the new research facility.
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Gavin Walker, Professor in Sustainable Energy Technologies, said: “Hydrogen energy is a strategic research focus for the University and an important new technology for the decarbonisation of the transport sector.

“The new refuelling station, which also includes electric car charging points, is one of around 10 such facilities across the UK. It will be used principally for the small fleet of hydrogen-powered cars that we are planning to run in connection with research projects based at the new Energy Technologies Building.”

Novel features

The Energy Technologies Building is set to become the UK’s most advanced research facility into new energy innovations and offers an extensive range of novel features, including:

• The Wolfson Prototyping Hall will provide a 400m2 and 12m high testing facility for the University’s Department of Architecture and Built Environment. It will enable experts to create full-scale building exteriors and other building features to test their energy efficiency. It will also boast a climate chamber and an additional 200m2 of external space open to the elements where tests can be carried out in real-time weather and daylight conditions. The hall is named in honour of The Wolfson Foundation which provided generous support in the construction of the building.

• Laboratory space for low carbon research.

• A demonstration ‘green’ and ‘brown’ roof which will provide space for solar panels, as well as valuable ecological habitats.

• Seminar and exhibition rooms.

Excellence in environmental sustainability

The building itself has been designed to achieve a BREEAM Outstanding rating, the highest level for environmental sustainability. The sustainable design includes earth duct passive cooling, that uses the thermal mass of the surrounding earth to provide cooling and preheating of ventilation air, and efficient building design with low energy cooling and heating systems. A bio-fuel CHP generator will generate up to 150% of the total annual electricity requirement. The building will also produce more heat than it requires, with the surplus directed to its neighbour, the Institute of Mental Health.

Guests at the launch event on Wednesday will be welcomed by The University of Nottingham’s Vice-Chancellor Professor David Greenaway before hearing from a number of high profile expert speakers.

Challenges for a green future 

Steve Holliday, Chief Executive of the National Grid, will offer an overview of the energy challenges facing us as the UK attempts to move towards a low-carbon society by 2050, while Dr Tony Cocker, Chief Executive Officer of E.ON will speak about the research and development needed to deliver solutions to meet these challenges.

Professor Gavin Walker will outline the future of energy research at Nottingham, which is a key strategic research priority and includes particular strengths in efficient fossil fuel carbon capture, biomass for the production of biofuels, smart grids, zero emission vehicles, demand-side reduction and hydrogen technologies.

The afternoon will include the arrival of the hydrogen taxi-cab from sponsor Intelligent Energy and the hydrogen transit van from energy storage and clean fuel company ITM Power, which has installed the hydrogen station at the Energy Technologies Building.

In addition, the landscape close to the Energy Technologies Building will be dominated by a 14m tall tetrahedral structure which will offer visitors the opportunity to see the scale of proposed future offshore wind turbine supports. It marks a lecture for the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) being delivered that evening by Nottingham’s Professor Seamus Garvey, whose work centres on the use of giant wind turbines to compress air and store it in huge Energy Bags anchored to the sea bed.

— Ends —

The Energy Technologies Building is part of the Accelerating A Low Carbon Economy project which is part financed by the East Midlands European Regional Development Competitiveness Programme 2007 to 2013. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit


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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has 40,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘the world’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking 2011.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2011, for its research into global food security.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fund-raising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news


Story credits

More information is available from Professor Gavin Walker on +44 (0)115 951 3752,

Emma Thorne Emma Thorne - Media Relations Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5793 Location: University Park

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