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Region’s Hydrogen Transport Hub To Hold £20million Innovation Competition

Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP has visited the region to announce it will play host to a new £20million competition thanks to its status as the UK’s Hydrogen Transport Hub.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen welcomed the Transport Secretary, who was joined by a hydrogen ambulance, tug, bus and cars all taking part in the region’s hydrogen transport trial. She later visited Darlington firm Cummins, which is leading development of a hydrogen-fuelled internal combustion engine.

Bidders in the new competition will push the boundaries of hydrogen to see how to best utilise it in a greener, cleaner and more efficient transport sector, vying for a portion of a £20million pot. Hydrogen, which produces no carbon emissions when used as a fuel, has an abundance of potential that has yet to be unlocked and today’s announcement will address just that.

As part of the competition, run by Innovate UK, businesses and research groups will collaborate to discover how hydrogen can be used as a reliable fuel source. From lowering carbon emissions on grocery deliveries to making the air in our cities cleaner, today’s investment opens up the possibilities and potential of hydrogen to revolutionise how people live and breathe across the country.

It will address challenges such as refuelling on a large scale, how buses and coaches can use it in a public transport ecosystem and how to make our supply chain greener with hydrogen-fuelled HGVs.

As these technologies develop, the research from this competition will help bring about the large-scale production of low-carbon hydrogen, something that could also help build the nation’s resilience to international energy prices.

The announcement will also see an additional £300,000 put forward to supporting upskilling the local workforce and foster a specialised skills base and pipeline of talent, further cementing the Tees Valley’s status as the home of hydrogen. This will help grow the UK economy, with a transport system that is resilient to global energy prices, environmentally friendly and could see the creation of hundreds of skilled jobs.

Innovate UK and the Department for Transport are now set to hold an industry update event on Friday, 7 October to give more information on the competition to interested parties.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “With ever-increasing global energy prices, a looming net zero deadline but a real chance to grab emerging opportunity with both hands, now more than ever we must be looking to the cleaner, safer and healthier industries of the future, such as hydrogen.

“The first phase of our Hydrogen Transport Hub pilot, at sites including Teesside Airport, has already proved a great success, showing how these vehicles can be used safely, effectively and cleanly in a whole range of ways.

“Now, thanks to this competition, our brilliant innovative businesses can go further to unlock the potential of hydrogen to transform our transport system and undertake vital research that – alongside plans by bp, Kellas Midstream, Northern Gas Networks and others – will cement our area as a hydrogen powerhouse.”

Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges this generation faces, and with transport contributing 24% to the UK’s Co2 levels, we are working hard to change things now and for the future.

“Tees Valley continues to be the beacon for hydrogen technologies and will be further supported by £20million going to the best and the brightest ideas that will create a world leading industry, with more skilled jobs in the heart of the north of England.”

Innovate UK CEO Indro Mukerjee said: “Hydrogen innovation will play a key part in the UK’s Net Zero ambitions, and Innovate UK is ready to work with the most innovative businesses in this field.

“We are pleased to partner with the Department for Transport and Tees Valley to help deliver a cleaner, greener, future economy for the region and the UK.”

With this new funding, the Hydrogen Hub, a testing-ground of hydrogen focused businesses and expertise, will see its largest competition launch to date. The previous competition earlier this year saw over £2.6million awarded to various winners to develop 21 vehicles. It has also seen Teesside international Airport pilot zero-emission hydrogen vehicles including a tug and forklift, and become home to a hydrogen refuelling station.

As a result, the UK is one step closer to solving one of the biggest challenges to reaching Net Zero in seeing larger vehicles utilising hydrogen across the transport network beyond battery-power, with the winning bids aiming to display their final products from spring 2023.

For more information on the Hydrogen Transport Hub Industry Update event, or to register your interest, visit https://bit.ly/3xxJ76n

If you would like to discuss a bid, email transport@teesvalley-ca.gov.uk