A group of pioneering graduates at Cadent have successfully introduced hydrogen fuel cell technology to the company’s construction activities for the first time using a GeoPura Hydrogen Power Unit (HPU) to power their welfare cabins at the Meridian Water Development, London.
Cadent supported by Fastflow Energy Services, a subsidiary of United Living, are currently constructing a new Pressure Reduction Station (PRS) to facilitate the Meridian Water Development, a major £6bn, 20-year London regeneration programme led by Enfield Council.
As part of its graduate programme, Cadent tasked a group of aspiring engineers with the challenge of finding a way to reduce emissions and decarbonise their operations on an industrial scale and this high-profile project was the ideal opportunity to trial a new approach.
The graduate team witnessed GeoPura’s fuel cell technology at the start of the year when a HPU was being used to provide combined heat and power in a world first for the construction industry at National Grid’s Viking Link construction site. Having seen the unit in action, they were determined to introduce this approach to their project, replacing conventional diesel generators to power welfare cabins whilst a connection to the DNO grid was not available.
The HPU uses fuel cell technology and hydrogen to generate off-grid electricity. The unit’s only emissions are pure water (H2O) and it’s estimated that this innovative solution will prevent circa 19,000kg of CO2 and other harmful emissions which would otherwise be emitted.
One of the graduates responsible for the design is Michael Sinclair, he said: ‘It has been incredibly rewarding to be part of the team that planned this project from its origins in October- to then see the fuel cell deployed and powering our site with clean energy only 8 months later.
“It was not easy – but change never is. The hope for the future is that by building upon our work in Tottenham, it is easier to set up the next green-site, and then the next one after that – until sites powered by green energy just become the norm for Cadent.
“I am really proud that we have challenged ourselves to do better – we have shown that we don’t just talk about cutting out our carbon, we actually do something about it”
Andrew Hejdner Senior Project Manager at Cadent, said: “The graduate engineers have a taken a theoretical problem and developed a tangible solution to work towards solving a significant industry wide problem on one of the UK’s largest regeneration developments.
“The trial of this hydrogen powered fuel cell could have a massive effect on how we work in Cadent on major projects in the future. I’m proud that we are the first Gas Distribution Network to use hydrogen in this way and its thanks to the passion and enthusiasm of the graduates and project team that we secured the fuel cell in an area of industry that is receiving a lot of focus. In conjunction with several other initiatives including HVO fuel (a diesel substitute) and hybrid construction machinery we are trialling on the project, we have taken another step towards Cadent’s NetZero ambitions.”
Andrew Cunningham, GeoPura’s Managing Director, said: “GeoPura are of course delighted that Cadent are showing their commitment to clean air and reducing their emissions of damaging pollutants by using one of our zero emission Hydrogen Power Units to provide electrical power to a major site.
“Cadent are to be particularly congratulated though for empowering a young team to spearhead this significant change in their operating methods, and of course the team are to be congratulated for stepping up to that challenge and successfully delivering the project. At GeoPura we’re excited about what we do, but the energy and commitment shown by the team at Cadent Gas has been an inspiration.”
Benn Cottrell, Managing Director, Fastflow Group, United Living Infrastructure Services, said: “We’re pleased to be working with Cadent on this exciting project, bringing our engineering expertise to help secure safe gas supplies for years to come.
“The construction and infrastructure industry traditionally use a significant amount of energy to deliver critical projects shaping the communities in which we live. With solutions such as hydrogen fuel cells, hybrid machinery and clean, renewable fuel, we can improve our sustainability practices, and the impact construction sites have on the environment as our industry strives towards meeting its carbon reduction targets”.
The hydrogen fuel cell trial will be monitored closely, and it is hoped that if the technology proves successful, hydrogen fuel cells could become business as usual for major construction projects in Cadent.