Sheffield is trialling 5 Renault Kangoo ZE hydrogen vans, supplied by Arcola Energy, using them to deliver our services. We have received funding from the Government to help buy the vans. We aim to find out how well the technology works and show the vans to the public and organisations in the city. This is to help the Government introduce this new and environmentally friendly technology to the UK.
How the vans work
You might expect that our vans have normal combustion engines that burn hydrogen, to create heat to power the vehicle. Instead these ‘fuel cell’ vans are more like ‘Range Extender’ electric vehicles. As with normal electric vehicles we charge the battery overnight, the electricity from the battery then provides the power to move the vehicle. The difference is that when the battery gets low on a journey, the hydrogen in the car undergoes a chemical reaction to top up the battery and then produce water out of the tailpipe. This means that it can travel further before it needs to be charged again.
Why we’re involved
There are different ways of fuelling a vehicle to improve emissions and reduce pollution. New models of normally fuelled vehicles (e.g. petrol) should have improved emissions. Plug-in electric vehicles have zero tailpipe emissions and many new and improved models are being manufactured. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles could well complement these options in the future, offering quick refuelling and hundreds of miles on one tank.
Whereas electric vehicles are becoming common on our streets, hydrogen cars and vans have only recently been developed. There aren’t many hydrogen fuelling points in the country and the vehicles cost a lot. But as it happened with electric vehicles, this should change.
We were particularly interested in trialling the vehicles because there is a local hydrogen fuelling station (run by ITM Power) at the Advanced Manufacturing Park. Sheffield could be a key part of the future UK hydrogen fuelling network and we’d like to support that by being one of the users of the current fuelling station. We also see the opportunity to improve Sheffield’s air quality with low emission vehicles. With only water coming out of the tailpipe, our hydrogen vans are ideal.
As of December 2017 we have 4 of the 5 vans. We will update this page with public events where you’ll be able to have a look at our new vans.