Brighton and Hove may host a hydrogen fuel hub

A hydrogen hub providing clean fuel for Brighton and Hove could be in the pipeline.

Green councillor Jamie Lloyd won unanimous support as he called for a feasibility study into Brighton and Hove City Council setting up its own green energy company.

He championed using hydrogen fuel when the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee met at Hove Town Hall this afternoon (Tuesday 21 January).

Councillor Lloyd was inspired after after speaking with an engineer about the potential of the abundant fuel source which is the most common element in the universe.

In the past, hydrogen was collected using fossil fuels but the Withdean ward councillor said that it can be released through electrolysis by using sustainable energy from the Rampion wind farm.

Councillor Lloyd said: “We know that Brighton and Hove Buses are taking on 20 hydrogen fuel cell buses.

“Hydrogen used as a fuel in fuel cells is an excellent clean form of energy. The only emission is pure water.

“Hydrogen fuel cells are preferable in many ways to standard electric batteries.

“They cannot only be recharged much more quickly (at similar speeds to petrol engines) but they do not rely on materials such as lithium and cobalt which are not only finite but are mined in environments such as the Congo with profound social and environmental implications.”

Fellow Green councillor Pete West cited Warrington council, between Liverpool and Manchester, which owns a solar farm that can power a whole town.

Councillor West said: “By doing this, they are then able to do other projects and supply clean energy. They can also contribute millions to council funding.”

He said that the Warrington operation could supplement council funds by £100 million over the next 30 years.

Conservative councillor Lee Wares said that he was interested in the feasibility of the project and asked about the potential cost of generating energy from hydrogen.

He said: “Is it cheaper than any other form of energy? The feasibility study should look at what we can do with the council homes we are building.

“If it is cheaper then it will help people on low incomes.

“I’m also interested to see how it fits with the city-owned vehicle fleet.”

He added: “If the report shows this is something quite useful, we should go full steam ahead.”

Labour councillor Anne Pissaridou said that the opportunity had “great potential” to help the council reach its target of being carbon-neutral by 2030.

She said: “It will help us reach carbon-neutrality and address poor air quality.

“We have met with a number of businesses who want to explore hydrogen infrastructure in the city.”

It was unanimously agreed that a feasibility report should be prepared for the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee.

The report should outline the potential for establishing a hydrogen hub in Brighton and Hove, including practicalities, costings and potential locations.

  1. Nigel Furness Reply

    Well done Cllr. Jamie Lloyd, but I hope that you voted AGAINST your Party’s Motion to ban ALL cars from the city centre by 2023 if this is the case. Perhaps, rather than obsessing on the past, THIS Green Councillor is actually capable of looking to the future and—ACKNOWLEDGING THAT WE HAVE ONE! I shall be observing closely.

  2. Peter Challis Reply

    A few clarifications:

    1. Hydrolysis of water with electricity to produce Hydrogen and Oxygen is not new. What is new is having periods where excess solar and wind power can be used to provide that electricity, rather than having to shut down energy production.

    2. Currently most Hydrogen (96%) comes from processing natural gas.

    3. The Hydrogen fuel cell buses purchased by Brighton & Hove Buses are being used by their sister company Metrobus for use in Crawley. We in Brighton & Hove have the new hybrids that still burn diesel and hence generate CO2. Whether these produce less CO2 in total than Euro6 buses is unclear – they just push the CO2 out in the rest of the city outside the ULEZ.

    4. The Warrington solar farm created in partnership with Gridserve required 196 acres of land. It has a power storage facility, but this will not be enough to totally supply a whole town, all year round, if it relied solely on this solar farm. I assume such space is not available within the city bounds, nor the SDNP, so would we have to use wind power and grow the Rampion farm?

    5. Additional sources for our long dark winter nights such as wind, gas, biomass and nuclear together with storage facilities (hydroelectric, batteries, or Hydrogen) are needed to avoid power shortages. This is similar to The Big Lemon claiming they are solar powered, when they have to rely on the National Grid to power their battery buses in the winter.

    6. We must clarify whether the priorities are to reduce CO2 production for the benefit of the plant, or whether we want to reduce NOx production for perceived health effects.

    7. What infrastructure will be needed in the city centre and around the country to store the compressed hydrogen? Will a new set of pipelines need to be installed, or will it be produced directly from water using electricity at, for example, petrol/diesel stations, or will we see hydrogen tankers distributing the liquefied gas?

  3. TP Reply

    Who’s going to pay for setting up the infrastructure? How many car manufacturers are producing cars capable of running on hydrogen fuel and if it’s such a big thing why is nobody else championing this technology?

  4. Gavin Williams Reply

    Good answers from Peter Challis. Regarding space my company is sitting in an old cement works in Lewes and there is another derelict one across the A27 plus others in Sussex. These were generally build close to rivers for importing the coal and could now have small hydro-electric capability.
    Gavin Williams

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