The results of a four-year test of hydrogen cars on UK roads were recently released, and the feedback was virtually all positive. Drivers loved the quiet ride, performance and reliability. The only real complaint was the lack of fully publicly accessible refueling stations in Britain.
The conclusion of the project was clear: without filling stations, few people would be willing to buy the cars. But without the cars, who will build the filling stations?
It's a similar situation to what the auto industry faced five years ago with electric vehicles. But this time the solution is not going to be as simple as planting a few poles on the sidewalks at the cost of a few thousand pounds. Hydrogen refueling stations are much more expensive.
A government and industry forecast estimated that by 2020 there would be 65 refueling stations in Britain, a plan that has not been met, concentrated in the busiest parts of the country. This would make long-distance travel on common routes possible, although it was also claimed that full coverage of Britain would require 1,000 filling stations.
The government is trying to ease the situation with meager contributions such as ITM Power, which received £3.59 million in grants, including £1.89 million from the government, to build and operate two new stations in London. Others already in operation include one at Heathrow Airport and another in a Sainsbury's parking lot in Hendon, north London, which opened in March.
The two existing filling stations are operated by a company called Air Products. Technically they are open to the public, but owners must create an account, receive training and obtain an access code. Each month they will receive a bill for the fuel used.
Map of hydrogen filling stations in United Kingdom
List of hydrogen filling stations in United Kingdom
Aberdeen Hydrogen Centre
Hydrogen Centre Lang Dykes Road
Aberdeen City Council
Wallyford Industrial Estate 7
Advanced Manufacturing Park, Morse Way, off Brunel Way
North Building, Highworth Rd
South Marston, Swindon
Lydiard Fields, Great Western Way
Extra Motorway Service Area, M40 Junction 2, A355, Windsor Drive
Hatton Cross Station, Envoy Avenue
Dora Jordan Rd
Junction, 9/10 M25
Longbridge Way, Horley, Gatwick
Power CEME Innovation Centre, CEME Campus, Marsh Way
How to refuel hydrogen in United Kingdom
More information on hydrogen vehicles in United Kingdom