Some of the UK’s most innovative companies have taken to the road to showcase the technologies expected to power the future hydrogen economy.
Leading the charge are Wrightbus, Ryze Hydrogen and INEOS, who have together created The UK Hydrogen Roadshow, drawing in big name partners including JCB, National Express West Midlands and ZeroAvia.
Together, they have driven a StreetDeck Hydroliner, the world’s first hydrogen-powered double-decker bus 606 miles from London’s Tate Modern to the COP26 UN Climate Change Summit in Glasgow where they are now demonstrating some of their innovations in the Green Zone.
The roadshow brings to life a vision of a world-leading net zero carbon UK economy where travel and industry is powered by emissions-free hydrogen and British companies are at the forefront of the transition. With the technology to produce green hydrogen and the next generation of hydrogen-powered vehicles, backed by world-class infrastructure, the UK is building the essential elements of future hydrogen economy today.
INEOS, the world’s biggest manufacturer of electrolysers (the technology that turns renewable energy and water into hydrogen), recently announced plans to invest £1.7 billion in green hydrogen production across Europe, including Norway, Germany, Belgium and the UK.
Wrightbus is the creator of the StreetDeck Hydroliner and two other designs of hydrogen bus. It recently announced the creation of 300 new permanent jobs after winning a string of orders for its vehicles, including from National Express West Midlands, which bought its last diesel bus in 2019 and has pledged its 1,600-strog fleet will be entirely zero emission by 2030.
Ryze Hydrogen, founded by green industrialist Jo Bamford, transports and distributes low-carbon hydrogen for heavy vehicles, including trucks and buses. It recently signed a deal with Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) in partnership with construction giant JCB, that will see them become the largest supplier of green hydrogen to the UK. Ryze and JCB have agreed to purchase 10% of the output from FFI, an Australian producer of zero-emission hydrogen.
JCB, among the world’s top-three manufacturers of construction equipment, has developed the first hydrogen motor in the construction equipment industry and has been testing it on some of its best-selling machines.
ZeroAvia is a leader in the development of hydrogen-electric propulsion for aviation. The Cirencester-based company is building a hydrogen-electric powertrain for a 19-seat aircraft as it seeks to scale-up its technology platform.
Other partners in The UK Hydrogen Roadshow include Suttons, a market leader in the logistics sector for bulk gas distribution that recently won a three-year contract with Ryze Hydrogen to transport hydrogen from the North West of England to the capital for Transport for London.
Also on the bus is Baxi, owner of numerous brands in the heating and hot-water industry, and an advocate of decarbonation of the UK gas grid with hydrogen.
NanoSUN is an award-winning engineering company focused on the development, manufacture and commercialisation of mobile hydrogen refuelling solutions for the transport industry.
Among the visitors during the Roadshow were UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who spent some time with Ryze Founder and CEO Jo Bamford discussing, among other things, scaling hydrogen production.
Along the way to Glasgow, the Roadshow took in the INEOS plant at Runcorn where Inovyn Country Manager Nigel Bouckley demonstrated how the facility is run on the hydrogen it produces. Another stop gave Mark Tennant, commercial director at INEOS Automotive, the opportunity to showcase the INEOS Grenadier prototype, the world’s first hydrogen-powered SUV.
The final stop was at Jordanhill School in Glasgow where pupils recorded messages for the world leaders gathering at COP26.
The message to COP26 from the Hydrogen Roadshow initiative is clear, that UK businesses across the country are innovating with hydrogen to lower-emissions in multiple sectors; transport, home heating, and industry, creating skilled green jobs and tackling global warming.