With £7 million of government funding, the North East of England, specifically the Tees Valley, will see the emergence of hydrogen projects aimed at boosting the local economy and supporting skilled jobs.
The funding has been awarded to fuel distributor Exolum to build a green public access hydrogen refueling station near Middlesbrough, which will initially service at least 25 new zero-emission heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) making deliveries. This will involve the sustainable delivery of thousands of goods in the area, from supermarket groceries to new clothes.
The government-funded Tees Valley hydrogen transport hub is the first of its kind in the country, showing how green hydrogen, which does not produce any harmful emissions when used in a fuel cell, can be utilised in transport. The move will not only improve air quality for residents in the Tees Valley but support hundreds of skilled UK jobs and upskilling opportunities for workers.
Technology and Decarbonization Minister Anthony Browne praised the Tees Valley's leadership in the technology vital to the decarbonization of heavier vehicles, highlighting the positive impact on jobs and economic growth. In addition, the Tees Valley Combined Authority will use £300,000 of government funding to promote local hydrogen training.
This funding follows the announcements of the first two winning projects, led by ULEMCo and Element 2, focused on airport ground support vehicles and new hydrogen refueling stations. These three innovative projects will transform transportation in Tees Valley, generating employment and apprenticeship opportunities. Industry interest is evident, with plans for the construction of large-scale hydrogen production facilities in the region.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen highlighted how the region is leading the way in the development of cleaner and safer transport, stressing the importance of developing local skills to take advantage of the jobs generated by these emerging technologies. Lord Callanan, Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, welcomed the uptake of green hydrogen for deliveries in the region and highlighted the government's investment in the hydrogen industry, backing projects such as the Tees Valley project.
The announcement of the third winning project completes the government's second round of funding for the Tees Valley hydrogen transportation hub, cementing the region as a leader in the hydrogen sector and contributing to skills, jobs and economic growth. It will also provide valuable data and experience for future policy, strategy and investment decisions in the coming years. The head of Exolum Clean Energies, Andres Suarez, stressed the importance of green hydrogen in the energy transition and highlighted the collaboration with other companies to bring this technology to market.