A recent announcement by the government backed Technology Strategy Board, has revealed that the Isle of Wight will become a test bed for hydrogen fuel with a project that will build a hydrogen energy production, storage and vehicle refuelling system which will integrate into the power system on the island.

The Ecoisland Partnership CIC, a project that aims to make the Isle of Wight almost entirely self sustaining by the end of the decade, will play an integral role in the £4.66m project, which will be led by the energy storage and clean fuel company ITM Power, an Ecoisland National Partner.

The grant has been awarded following a successful application to the Technology Strategy Board’s ‘Fuel Cells and Hydrogen: Whole System Integration’ competition for research and development funding.

The project focuses on the integration of an electrolyser-based refueller with the island’s renewable energy. This allows the electrolyser refueller to act as a demand side management (DSM) load which enables low carbon hydrogen to be produced for use as a vehicle fuel.

The project will design, build, install and operate two grid connected hydrogen refuelling platforms on the Isle of Wight. A 15kg/day refueller will be used in a marine capacity located on the south coast of the Island, and a larger 100kg/day unit will be installed on a centrally located business park for the operation of a fleet of hydrogen vehicles including Hyundai, Microcab and River Simple. Vehicles showcased will include Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) cars, Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine (HICE) vans and a HICE boat. ITM Power will design and build two refuellers and take a key role in the system integration.

Ecoisland will assist in site surveying, planning applications, and will operate the hydrogen car club – members of which include Vestas, SSE and Southern Water.

In a clear demonstration of the strength of the partnership approach, the project will see collaborative working between Ecoisland Partners SSE, Toshiba, IBM, Cable and Wireless and Cheetah Marine, as well as National Physical Laboratory, Arcola Energy, and the Universities of Glamorgan and Nottingham.

David Green, CEO of Ecoisland, commented, “Ecoisland is delighted to have been selected as the location for this exciting hydrogen trial, the first of its kind in the country. As the UK’s leading sustainability project it is appropriate that the refueller trial is going to be based here. ITM Power are the experts in their field and Dr Graham Cooley is an inspiration in the renewable fuel arena. With the Eco Business Park as its home, and the inclusion of the Car Club, the refueller will mean that people living here and visiting Ecoisland will get the chance to share the hydrogen experience first hand.”

Dr Graham Cooley, CEO of ITM Power commented, “Ecoisland represents a quantum leap for renewable technologies in the UK. ITM’s energy storage and clean fuel technology will be at the heart of this project that gives us an ideal opportunity to link our equipment with world leading smart grid technologies to create the integrated energy grid of the future.”