A-Plant, the UK’s leading tool and equipment hire company invited leading industry experts, suppliers and partners to a Hydrogen Energy Summit, to discuss how best to collaborate and tackle the growing demand for renewable energy sources in the construction market.
The inaugural workshop took place on 3rd October, in partnership with Loughborough-based Intelligent Energy and focussed on how Hydrogen fuel cells can be an integral part of power provision developed as a sustainable fuel replacement for diesel.
Hydrogen fuel cell powered products are increasingly gaining traction as a viable alternative to diesel generators, particularly in the UK construction industry, as they are zero emission, operate quietly and offer scalable power.
The workshop was organised by A-Plant and supported by Intelligent Energy, one of the world’s leading fuel cell engineering companies. It brought together representatives from some of the industries key operators, with the aim of working together to find solutions to bring products and services to market.
The event combined a series of presentations and discussions as well as a tour of Intelligent Energy’s facilities which showcased its commercially available fuel cell product range. In addition, TCP Ltd, AJC Easy Cabin and Stephill Generators demonstrated their award-winning fuel cell powered products, which ranged from portable lighting towers and generators to site welfare cabins.
Further demonstrations were conducted by H2 Tec, Fuel Cell Systems and the Knowledge Transfer Network addressing the Hydrogen ecosystem, engineering of the fuel cells as well as its safe handling. There was also an opportunity for attendees to share their experiences of the fuel source so far.
Dave Harris, Sales & Marketing Director for A-Plant, said: “Providing sustainable hire equipment and energy options into the construction and infrastructure market is paramount. As a company we want to reduce our carbon footprint and play a leading role in identifying best practice and reduce emissions within the industry, especially when we consider steps that need to be taken to ensure we contribute to the Government’s 2050 zero carbon target.
“Therefore it’s vital that we collaborate with other industry experts, suppliers and our customers to ensure that we drive changes that will reduce our environmental impact.
“The Hydrogen workshop was the ideal platform to share our findings and experiences, as well as an opportunity to hear from the hydrogen industry experts and customers such as Balfour Beatty and Costain. Hydrogen fuel cell technology is clean, lightweight and will create greater efficiencies for our customers.”
Lee Juby, Chief Sales Officer at Intelligent Energy, added: “Hydrogen fuel cell technology is here and available now. Our Hydrogen Fuel Cell Modules are proving to be a viable alternative power source to diesel generators and can help the construction industry transition to zero emission power for a sustainable future, addressing environmental noise and air quality. They also provide an opportunity to both reduce operating costs and increase environmental performance compared with the use of traditional diesel generators.”
A-Plant forms part of FTSE 100 Company Ashtead Group plc and is the UK’s largest equipment rental company with over 190 Service Centres nationwide, more than 3,900 employees and over 35,000 customers in the construction, industrial, infrastructure and events sectors.
Intelligent Energy is focused on the development and manufacture of its Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell products for customers in the automotive, aerospace, generator, telecoms, materials handling and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) sectors. Intelligent Energy is built on 30 years of PEM fuel cell development. Following acquisition by Meditor Energy, part of the Meditor Group, in October 2017 it is now undergoing a period of increased investment and expansion. The company is headquartered and manufactures in Loughborough in the UK, with additional offices and representation in the US, Japan, China and South Korea.
About Fuel Cells
Fuel cell technology is similar to batteries in that individual cells are built up to give the desired power output. However, fuel cells do not run out of charge as batteries do and will produce power for as long as hydrogen fuel is provided to the cell. Hydrogen is readily available around the world, often generated using green energy
Fuel cells are deployed in multiple applications where clean, lightweight, efficient and cost-effective power is required. Fast re-fuelling and lack of emissions makes fuel cell technology the immediate choice for forklift trucks and warehousing. Fuel cells are common place in clean construction and backup power for critical telecoms. Powering UAVs with fuel cells allows three times the flying time which gives significant advantages in applications such as surveying and filming.
Zero emission hydrogen fuel cell technology will be preferred to battery technology in vehicles where rapid re-fuelling, high power and long range are important. Typical fuel cell applications include SUVs, buses and trucks, along with smaller cars where a high availability is critical, e.g. taxis and shared vehicles. Over 13,000 fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are on the road today. FCEVs are expected to be an integral part of the connected and autonomous vehicle (“CAV”) revolution over the coming years.
Fuel cells are expected to become the dominant technology in de-carbonised aerospace.