In the environmental fast lane! Nottingham invests in hydrogen van

21 Aug 2013 12:20:16.540

The University of Nottingham prides itself on choosing environmentally sustainable options wherever possible – and that’s why its Faculty of Engineering has invested in a new hydrogen van.

Hydrogen vehicles are a more environmentally-friendly alternative to vehicles which run on fossil fuels like petrol and diesel because there are no carbon dioxide emissions. The van will be able to utilise the hydrogen filling station at the University’s Innovation Park.

The van has received a paint job too, and now proudly boasts its sustainable credentials. The decision to invest in a hydrogen vehicle ties in with the University’s commitment to sustainable practices.

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Alternative fuelled vehicles

Gavin Walker, Professor of Sustainable Energy, said: “The University has been using alternative fuelled vehicles in its Estate fleet and more renewable energy technologies are being installed, especially for new buildings like the Energy Technologies Building.

“The hydrogen van project compliments both activities. This project will also be an opportunity to showcase low carbon technologies to local SMEs.”

In addition to being greener, the van will be used as part of a study into the true cost of hydrogen fuel.

Professor Walker said: “The hydrogen van helps us investigate optimisation of hydrogen refuelling technologies and undertake studies into the cost of hydrogen.”

Nottingham’s hydrogen filling station

The University’s hydrogen filling station is the first in Nottingham and is housed next to the Energy Technologies Building. The building has PV solar panels on it, which are connected to electrolysers in order to generate green hydrogen from water.

Professor Walker said: “The cost of the hydrogen generated will depend on the percentage of PV used – but initial estimates suggest a 30 per cent saving in fuel costs.”

The van is a converted internal combustion engine and can be fuelled by either hydrogen or petrol.

Fast hydrogen refuelling

An advantage of using hydrogen rather than batteries is the fast refuelling time which is similar to filling up at the petrol pump – without the environmental impact. The refueller can fill the van’s hydrogen take in around three to five minutes.

Professor Walker said: “This is a cheaper technology than fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV), and could be a bridging technology until the cost of FCEV is more comparable to the internal combustion engine equivalent. This could happen as soon as 2020.”

The University is collaborating with ITM Power on a Technology Strategy Board funded project – Ecoisland – and the hydrogen van is a key part of this collaboration. The data for the Nottingham refueller and the new hydrogen van will be used to optimise the technology for a scaled-up version of the ITM Power HFuel system for the Isle of Wight to run a small fleet of hydrogen vehicles next year.

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottinghamhas 42,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It was ‘one of the first to embrace a truly international approach to higher education’, according to the Sunday Times University Guide 2013. It is also one of the most popular universities among graduate employers, one of the world’s greenest universities, and winner of the Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong and the QS World Rankings.

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 aims 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 for its research into global food security.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fundraising 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, Professor of Sustainable Energy, +44(0)115 951 3752,

Fraser Wilson - Communications Officer

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 846 6691 Location: University Park

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