Hydrogen transport pilots in the Tees Valley area will establish the UK as "a leader in the technology and propel us towards our net zero goals," Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said.

The trials will lead to supermarkets, emergency services and delivery companies using hydrogen-powered transport to move goods and carry out local services.

The trials will also help us to understand the role hydrogen has in meeting our 2050 net zero ambitions, which will inform our future investment decisions and prime export opportunities.

In collaboration with Stagecoach, Ricardo PLC will retrofit a double-decker diesel bus with a hybrid fuel cell system.

The bus will be driven on local routes and learnings from this project will support fuel cell retrofit technologies in public transport across the UK.

One of the most wide-ranging projects sees Toyota delivering a number of hydrogen vehicles, including a forklift truck for warehouse operations, a passenger bus and 10 fuel cell passenger cars.

These will be deployed across the town’s rapid response services, such as emergency response units for the Cleveland Police and NHS patient support.

HV Systems plans to demonstrate the use of hydrogen in delivery vans in the Tees Valley area. The vans will be operated in collaboration with a leading supermarket chain, running between 19 superstores and their main distribution centre.

The project aims to show how delivery vans fitted with fuel cells can have increased range, faster refuelling times than battery-electric versions and speed parity with conventional diesel vehicles.

Hydrogen HGV trials

In collaboration with Sainsbury’s, Element Energy will also be trialling a hydrogen-powered heavy goods vehicle (HGV) in the Tees Valley area.

The vehicle will be operated from a local distribution centre and will be carrying out goods deliveries in the area.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

With less than 100 days to go until COP26, I’m committed to supporting industry to develop innovative new technologies that will decarbonise transport, helping us to build back greener and level up the country.

"By harnessing the power of hydrogen technology, we can pave the way for its use across all transport modes, creating cleaner, greener more efficient transport systems across the UK."