Government grants for hydrogen-powered plant pilots


A Bam-led initiative to develop the use of hydrogen as an alternative to diesel on construction sites has secured a £4,872,653 grant from the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero.

The Element One project is looking to adapt and develop dual-fuel technology, converting a range of construction plant to be operated using a hydrogen-fuelled generator.

The project will also develop a hydrogen manufacturing supply chain, including off-site and on-site production, off-grid compression, and storage and distribution systems.

The target is to be provide practical solutions that can be demonstrated on an operational construction site for at least a month.

Work on the project starts this month and will run for two years.

Bam and Skanska will provide operating construction sites for demonstrations; GeoPura will supply hydrogen and a hydrogen-powered generator; Reynolds Logistics will supply transport; NanoSun will develop storage and onsite distribution capabilities; ULEMCo will adapt its dual fuel technology to convert plant supplied by Flannery and Plantforce. The Building Research Establishment will conduct independent assessments.

Colin Evison, innovation technical lead for Bam, said: “The Element One project has brought together a range of experts across the construction, plant and energy sectors to drive forward this transformational vision for the industry. The collaboration demonstrated between all project partners to date has been inspirational and we were absolutely delighted to be awarded the grant by Phase 2 of the Red Diesel Replacement Programme, funded through the £1bn Net Zero Innovation Portfolio.

“As well as the technical ambition, the Element One project aims to address barriers to hydrogen production, supply and use including skills and training needs, health and safety and regulatory issues. The demonstration will support market assessment and business cases for investment and will measure and assess impacts on site productivity and emissions compared to conventional diesel plant.

“Ultimately, our aim is to shift hydrogen-powered plant use from being an experimental concept to creating practical solutions that allow implementation on busy construction sites. Importantly, all of our learnings will also be disseminated to wider industry.”

Other research projects receiving grants under the second phase of the Red Diesel Replacement Programme include a project in Belfast involving Terex , Catogen and Wrightbus. Backed by a £6.3m grant, they will trial Catagen’s e-diesel technology (ClimaHtech E-Fuel) on a Terex crushing and screening machine, with a Wrightbus mobile hydrogen bowser to support refuelling of a hydrogen genset and dual-fuel engine at a demonstration site. (Wrightbus is owned by JCB scion Jo Bamford.)

Catagen founder and chief executive Andrew Woods explained: “The pathway to decarbonise the off-road mobile machinery is difficult, these vehicles tend to be larger, built for extreme conditions, have long duty cycles and high-power demand. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so we are delighted to be making this bold step with Terex and Wrightbus to develop an end-to-end decarbonised solution.

“This will showcase a Terex crusher and screener at a quarry, powered by a dual fuel hydrogen e-diesel genset, produced and fuelled by the ClimaHtech system and the Wrightbus Hydrogen bowser. Catagen’s purpose is to clean and decarbonise the air and this project brings us one step closer to our goal to reduce global emissions.”

Ryze Hydrogen (also owned by Jo Bamford) has been given a £3.2m grant to develop production-ready modular hydrogen refuelling technologies for construction sites. The refuelling technologies to be tested include; bowsers, tube trailers, refueller, a portable compressor, and a second generation fuel cell. Different refuelling equipment configurations will be demonstrated, as part of an end-to-end hydrogen solution, to refuel a range of hydrogen fuelled machines, including backhoe loaders, telescopic handlers and excavators, at a working test quarry. Ryze will work on this project with Skanska, Mace Dragados, Sizewell C, Wrightbus and a leading construction equipment manufacturer, which may or may not be JCB.

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