Cheshire East Council and Storengy have joined forces and secured funding towards a £1m scheme which will see bin wagons converted to take home-produced hydrogen.
The scheme comprised of both public and private sector money – with a £345,000 contribution from the local enterprise partnership’s Local Growth Fund – will see the first green hydrogen fuelling facility in the North West of England, bringing carbon and air quality benefits to Cheshire East.
Installed at the Ansa environmental services depot in Middlewich, it is proposed to produce hydrogen in the greenest way possible – using an electrolyser connected to solar panels and grey-water recycling. This will provide safe, clean hydrogen fuel, which will be pumped into dual-fuel bin wagons.
Initially, two bin wagons owned by the council and one vehicle owned by Storengy will be converted to use the green hydrogen. This will reduce the council’s and Storengy’s diesel use by more than 10,000 litres per year.
Councillor Nick Mannion, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for environment and regeneration, said: “This scheme is an exciting step towards the council becoming carbon neutral by 2025. Through our environmental strategy, we intend to lead the way in green initiatives like this.
“Building a cleaner, greener economy will not only reduce carbon but also create jobs across the borough through new and innovative technologies, such as hydrogen.
“Hydrogen is ideal as an alternative to diesel for our refuse vehicles. These wagons have heavy schedules when delivering their services across the borough and this type of refuelling will ensure they have the cleaner power they need when emptying our residents’ bins.”
Councillor Quentin Abel, Cheshire East Council’s climate change champion, said: “Policymakers and industry, widely acknowledge that to achieve a zero-carbon economy we need to use fuels like hydrogen as a green energy source. This scheme means we can take that first step, starting with our heavy-duty vehicles. This will help towards combating the increasing climate change crisis.”
Mike Gibson, managing director of Storengy, said: “Decarbonising fleet operators’ activities is a huge challenge and we see this as an important first step in the process.
“We pride ourselves in being part of the energy transition that harnesses a fresh approach to deliver and store energy sources in the UK and worldwide. We are delighted to unveil this scheme in partnership with Cheshire East Council, the first of its kind in the United Kingdom.”
The project has been awarded a grant of £345,000 from the £4.1m energy fund, run by Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) as part of the Local Growth Fund.
Christine Gaskell CBE DL, chair of Cheshire and Warrington LEP said: “Cheshire and Warrington leads the way in clean growth, with decarbonisation one of our top priorities. We are delighted to invest in projects such as this that are actively contributing to improving quality of life for all of our residents through reduced carbon emissions.”
Subject to approvals, including planning permission, the refuse vehicles will be operating from autumn 2020. All work will all comply with the necessary health and safety requirements.