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Isle of Wight powers into the hydrogen age

13 September 2012

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is collaborating on a project led by ITM Power to create an integrated hydrogen energy storage and vehicle refuelling system on the Isle of Wight.

Aerial photograph of The Needles, Isle of Wight courtesy of the Isle of Wight  Tourist Board

The 'EcoIsland' project will design, build, install and operate two grid-connected hydrogen fuel stations to provide for a fleet of around 20 hydrogen vehicles. These will include fuel cell electric vehicle cars, hydrogen internal combustion engine (HICE) vans and a HICE boat.

The hydrogen fuel will be produced using surplus renewable energy such as that generated overnight by wind turbines. This means it will be a 'triple zero fuel' - with no CO2 emissions from its generation, transportation or use. The project will demonstrate the use of hydrogen as a means of demand side management, which is an action that changes how electricity is used to better balance the demand with the supply. In this case, the intermittent and excess renewable energy is used to produce a fuel with both financial and environmental value.

NPL's role in the project is to provide accurate and traceable measurements of the purity of the hydrogen supplied by the refuelling stations. The measurements will check whether the hydrogen is pure enough to comply with the specifications set out by the international standard ISO 14687-2. NPL scientists will also provide quality assurance and technical support with sample collection.

The EcoIsland project is co-funded by a grant from the UK's innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board and the lead partner is ITM Power, which designs and manufactures hydrogen energy systems for energy storage and clean fuel production. The other project partners are: Scottish & Southern Energy Plc; Toshiba; IBM; Cable & Wireless Worldwide; Cheetah Marine; Arcola Energy; Ecoisland CIC; the University of Glamorgan, and the University of Nottingham.


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